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Headache lasted all day: Headache for Days? Try this All-Natural 3-Day Fix

Headache for Days? Try this All-Natural 3-Day Fix

Stop headaches before they start

There are three things we know about headaches:

First, over half of adults have at least one headache per year, according to the World Health Organization.

Second, headaches are often under-diagnosed and under-treated.

And third, it’s pretty hard to find immediate, tried-and-true relief that takes long-term pain away.

If you’re looking for fast relief tips, we have 18 natural remedies. However, if the relief provided is only temporary, you might want to take a closer look at your lifestyle. Headaches can be caused by a whole host of things, including inflammation, sinus infections, or simply genetics.

The trick to holistically curing (almost all) your headaches is to prevent one from happening in the first place.

Recognize the difference between migraines and other headaches

Feeling sensations on one side of the head and experiencing other body symptoms? It could be a migraine. Generally, migraine tips can help headaches, but it might not work the other way around. If you’re experiencing severe migraines, it’s important to talk to your doctor about how to prevent and treat them.

So, if you’re ready to reclaim your day, look no further. Follow this three-day fix to holistically clear headaches from your schedule and stop your next one before it starts.

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Headaches happen when you least expect them. Common headache triggers include the obvious — like stress and too much alcohol — but they can also be caused by dehydration, bad posture, a lack of sleep, or even strong smells or odors.

What and what not to eat

Avoid any foods you suspect you’re allergic or intolerant to. Food intolerances, like gluten or histamine intolerances, can cause headaches.

Sip some herbal tea. Ginger and feverfew both have potential for treating or preventing headaches. Indulging in one of these warm herbal teas might be exactly what you need to find relief.

Stay hydrated. Advice on how much water you should drink per day varies, but aim for eight 8-ounce glasses per day.Dehydration is a common headache trigger, but it’s important not to over-hydrate as well. Carry a reusable water bottle with you to keep hydrated on the go, and make sure you’re staying hydrated during workouts as well.

Start taking vitamin B-2. Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin) might also help prevent headaches, specifically migraines. Research shows that people who took vitamin B-2 experienced fewer headaches per month.

What to do

Try a cold (or hot) compress. Cold therapy can be beneficial for treating migraines, while some — like tension headaches — might respond better to heat. If you don’t prefer one over the other, try alternating between the two.

Discover your triggers. Fixing your headache depends on your trigger, so it’s important to identify them and learn how to cope with them:

  • Try taking a 30-minute nap to see if the headache is sleep or stress related.
  • Close your eyes to test if the light or eye strain is causing you pain.
  • Massage the back of your neck or the bridge of your nose to see if this relieves any headache tension.

Once you find what helps, take a note.

Focus on light exercise. Bad posture is a common headache trigger, so introducing light stretching into your day can help improve your posture, reduce stress, and hopefully lower your headache risk over the long term.

What are headache triggers?

According to the American Migraine Foundation, the most common triggers include changes in sleep patterns, everyday stresses, menstrual periods, and weather and travel changes. You might not be able to avoid weather-related headaches, but being proactive can help you reduce their impact on your daily life.

How to sleep

You’ve heard this before: adults (18–64) typically need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. While it might seem like you do that on average, having an off week can contribute to your headaches.

Practice good sleep hygiene. It’s not just about getting sleep — it’s about getting quality sleep. The National Sleep Foundation suggests cutting out stimulants before bed, establishing a regular bedtime routine, and creating a relaxing environment for sleep.

Support your neck. Early morning headaches may be caused by strained muscles from a poor sleep position. For headaches, sleeping on your back is best — as long as your head is supported properly — while sleeping on your stomach is, unfortunately, not great for neck pain.

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If you are dealing with chronic headaches, it’s time to take your response beyond the basics. First, focus on managing triggers to help eliminate potential headaches before they start. From there, it’s all about doing what helps you feel your best.

What and what not to eat

Don’t drink caffeine. Try to avoid drinking caffeine. Studies suggest that too much caffeine (or the aftermath of caffeine withdrawal) can be a recipe for a nasty headache.

Cut back on junk food, food additives (like MSG), and artificial sweeteners. Certain foods can trigger headaches and migraines, so it’s important limit your intake of these foods, especially if you’re more prone to headaches. A 2016 review concluded that MSG and caffeine withdrawal were the most common headache triggers, but aspartame, gluten, histamine, and alcohol were also potential triggers.

Take magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral for our bodies, and one study suggests that having magnesium deficiency can lead to headaches. But too much magnesium also has its side effects, so talk to a doctor before loading up.

Food elimination alternative

If you already eat a fairly healthy food plan and suspect that cutting out junk food won’t work, try the elimination diet. When you aren’t sure what foods might be contributing to your headaches, eliminate any foods you suspect and then slowly reintroduce them one at a time.

What to do

Avoid stressful activities. While light exercise can be beneficial for headaches, strenuous workouts like running or weightlifting can make them worse.

Try using essential oils. Diffusing essential oils can help treat headaches. While different oils have different benefits, both peppermint and lavender essential oil are known for helping reduce headaches. Avoid undiluted oils, as concentrated doses may cause side effects like skin irritation.

Reduce neck pain. Give your neck a little love by stretching out the tightness. Try incorporating these yoga poses for neck pain. You can also pinch the back of your neck and massage gently to ease tension.

How to sleep

Use a rolled-up towel. If you’re holding off on getting a custom pillow just yet, rolling up a towel into a tight cylinder and placing it under your neck can help your muscles relax and relieve tension.

Boost your sleep quality. If you’re struggling to fall asleep, try drinking one of these colorful milk recipes with dessert or before bed. Need more tips to beat insomnia? Try avoiding evening exercise, cut out caffeine earlier in the day, and minimize your screen time.

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If it’s been three days and the pain is still going, there’s more you can do to discover your triggers. There are also steps you can take to rebuild your body’s defense foundation to help prevent or mitigate the next headache.

What and what not to eat

Avoid ice cream. Brain freeze may be connected to chronic headaches, so if you’re treating yourself with frozen foods, try cutting back for a while to see if that makes a difference.

Add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. When you’re stressed, chronic inflammation can happen — meaning headaches definitely aren’t helping the cycle. That why it’s important to avoid foods that can make inflammation worse. Eat foods like dark, leafy greens and berries. They are both on the “pain-safe” foods list, and they’re also anti-inflammatory foods that can help reduce stress.

Eat small, frequent meals. Skipping meals or eating irregularly can mess with your blood glucose levels. To maintain your glucose levels, eat regularly throughout the day.

What to do

Focus on self-care. Chronic tension headaches may come and go, and they’re often caused by stress.Try booking a massage, acupuncture session, or another relaxing activity.

Practice restful yoga. Research suggests that yoga may help increase the body’s production of melatonin, which regulates sleep. If you need help falling asleep, try incorporating some of these yoga poses for insomnia.

How to sleep

Try a neck support pillow. Third day and counting with head pain? It might be time to invest in a new pillow. A small study discovered that orthopedic pillows improved sleep slightly better than standard pillows, but the important thing is to find a pillow that keeps your neck elevated.

Don’t forget to practice good sleep habits. Take sleep hygiene a step further by removing electronics in the bedroom. The National Sleep Foundation recommends avoiding screen time an hour before bed as well as trying to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (even on weekends).

For many of us, headaches may seem inevitable, but that doesn’t mean we should let them become debilitating.

Even small changes — like making sure to wake up at the same time every day — could potentially have a major impact on whether or not you continue to suffer from chronic headaches. And remember, migraines are not the same as headaches, if they are preventing you from

And, in the end, what’s important is that you find the perfect headache relief and prevention strategies that work for you.

Jandra Sutton is a novelist, writer, and social media enthusiast. She’s passionate about helping people live happy, healthy, and creative lives. In her spare time, she enjoys lifting weights, reading, and anything related to ice cream. Pluto will always be a planet in her heart. You can follow her on Twitterand Instagram.

Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Triggers, and More

Migraine is a neurological condition that typically causes painful headache attacks that occur with additional symptoms, such as sensitivity to light, sound, smell, or touch.

More than just the cause of “really bad headaches,” migraine is a neurological condition that can cause multiple symptoms. While intense, debilitating headaches frequently characterize it, additional symptoms may include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • difficulty speaking
  • numbness or tingling
  • sensitivity to light and sound

The condition often runs in families and can affect all ages. People assigned female at birth are more likely than people assigned male at birth to be diagnosed with migraine.

The diagnosis of migraine is determined based on clinical history, reported symptoms, and by ruling out other causes. The most common categories of migraine headaches (or attacks) are episodic versus chronic, and then those without aura and those with aura.

People describe migraine pain as:

  • pulsating
  • throbbing
  • perforating
  • pounding
  • debilitating

It can also feel like a severe, dull, steady ache. The pain may start out as mild. But without treatment, it can become moderate to severe.

Migraine pain most commonly affects the forehead area. It’s usually on one side of the head, but it can occur on both sides or shift.

Most migraine attacks last about 4 hours. If they’re not treated or don’t respond to treatment, they can last for as long as 72 hours to a week. In migraine with aura, pain may overlap with an aura or may never occur at all.

Migraine symptoms may begin 1 to 2 days before the headache itself. This is known as the prodrome stage. Symptoms during this stage can include:

  • food cravings
  • depression
  • fatigue or low energy
  • frequent yawning
  • hyperactivity
  • irritability
  • neck stiffness

In migraine with aura, the aura occurs after the prodrome stage. During an aura, you may have problems with your vision, sensation, movement, and speech. Examples of these problems include:

  • difficulty speaking clearly
  • feeling a prickling or tingling sensation in your face, arms, or legs
  • seeing shapes, light flashes, or bright spots
  • temporarily losing your vision

The next phase is known as the attack phase. This is the most acute or severe of the phases when the actual migraine pain occurs. In some people, this can overlap or occur during an aura. Attack phase symptoms can last anywhere from hours to days. Symptoms of migraine can vary from person to person.

Some symptoms may include:

  • increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • nausea
  • dizziness or feeling faint
  • pain on one side of your head, either on the left side, right side, front, or back, or in your temples
  • pulsing and throbbing head pain
  • vomiting

After the attack phase, a person will often experience the postdrome phase. During this phase, there are usually changes in mood and feelings. These can range from feeling euphoric and extremely happy to feeling very fatigued and apathetic. A mild, dull headache may persist.

The length and intensity of these phases can occur to different degrees in different people. Sometimes, a phase gets skipped, and a migraine attack may occur without causing a headache.

Researchers haven’t identified a definitive cause for migraine. But they still believe the condition is due to “abnormal” brain activity that affects nerve signaling, and chemicals and blood vessels in the brain.

There are also many migraine triggers that are continually reported, including:

  • bright lights
  • severe heat, or other extremes in weather
  • dehydration
  • changes in barometric pressure
  • hormone changes in people assigned female at birth, like estrogen and progesterone fluctuations during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause
  • excess stress
  • loud sounds
  • intense physical activity
  • skipping meals
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • use of certain medications, like oral contraceptives or nitroglycerin
  • unusual smells
  • certain foods
  • smoking
  • alcohol use
  • traveling

If you experience a migraine attack, your doctor may ask you to keep a headache journal. Writing down what you were doing, what foods you ate, and what medications you took before your migraine attack began can help identify your triggers.

Migraine can’t be cured, but your doctor can help you manage migraine attacks by giving you the tools to treat symptoms when they occur, which may lead to fewer attacks in general. Treatment can also help make migraine less severe.

Your treatment plan depends on:

  • your age
  • how often you have migraines attacks
  • the type of migraine you have
  • how severe they are — based on how long they last, how much pain you have, and how often they keep you from going to school or work
  • whether they include nausea or vomiting, as well as other symptoms
  • other health conditions you may have and other medications you may take

Your treatment plan may include a combination of:

  • lifestyle adjustments, including stress management and avoiding migraine triggers
  • OTC pain or migraine medications, like Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • prescription migraine medications that you take every day to help prevent migraine headaches and reduce how often you have headaches
  • prescription migraine medications that you take as soon as an attack starts to keep it from becoming severe and to ease symptoms
  • prescription medications to help with nausea or vomiting
  • hormone therapy if migraines seem to occur in relation to your menstrual cycle
  • counseling
  • alternative care, which may include meditation, acupressure, or acupuncture

If you need help finding a primary care doctor, then check out our FindCare tool here.


Medications can be used to either prevent a migraine attack from happening or treat it once it occurs. You may be able to get relief with OTC medication. But if OTC medications aren’t effective, your doctor may decide to prescribe other medications.

The severity of your migraine and any other health conditions you have will determine which treatment is right for you.

Acute medications — taken as soon as you suspect a migraine attack is coming — include:

  • NSAIDs: These medications, like ibuprofen or aspirin, are typically used in mild-to-moderate attacks that don’t include nausea or vomiting.
  • Triptans: These medications, like sumatriptan, eletriptan, and rizatriptan, are typically the first line of defense for individuals who have nerve pain as a symptom of their migraine attacks.
  • Antiemetics: These medications, like metoclopramide, chlorpromazine, and prochlorperazine, are typically used with NSAIDs to help decrease nausea.
  • Ergot alkaloids: These medications, like Migranal and Ergomar, aren’t prescribed that often and are usually reserved for individuals who don’t respond to triptans or analgesics.

Preventative medications — prescribed to people whose migraine attacks can be debilitating or happen more than four times a month — are taken once a day, or every 3 months via injection. These medications include:

  • Antihypertensives: These drugs are prescribed for high blood pressure and can also help with migraine attacks. Beta-blockers and angiotensin receptor blockers (candesartan) are some examples of antihypertensive drugs used for migraine prevention.
  • Anticonvulsants: Certain anti-seizure medications may also be able to prevent migraine attacks.
  • Antidepressants: Some antidepressants, like amitriptyline and venlafaxine, may also be able to prevent migraine attacks.
  • Botox: Botox injections are administered to the head and neck muscles every 3 months.
  • Calcitonin gene-related peptide treatments: These treatments are administered either via injection or through an IV and work to prevent a migraine attack from developing.

While migraine attack triggers can be very personal, certain foods or food ingredients may be more likely to trigger an attack than others. These may include:

  • alcohol or caffeinated drinks
  • food additives, like nitrates (a preservative in cured meats), aspartame (an artificial sugar), or monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • tyramine, which occurs naturally in some foods

Tyramine also increases when foods are fermented or aged. These include foods like some aged cheeses, sauerkraut, and soy sauce. But ongoing research is looking more closely at the role of tyramine in migraines, as it may not be as big of a trigger as previously thought.

Other migraine attack triggers can be varied and seem random:

  • hormone triggers in people assigned female at birth
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • excitement
  • poor sleep quality
  • strenuous exercise (if you don’t do it often)
  • bright lights
  • changes in climate
  • hormone replacement therapy drugs

Keeping a journal of when your migraine attacks occur can help you identify your personal triggers.

There are many types of migraine. Two of the most common types are migraine without aura and migraine with aura. Some people have both types.

Many people living with migraine have more than one type of migraine.

Migraine without aura

Most people with migraine don’t experience an aura with their headaches.

Individuals who have migraine without an aura have had at least five attacks that have these characteristics:

  • attack usually lasts 4 to 72 hours without treatment or if treatment doesn’t work
  • attack has at least two of these traits:
    • it occurs only on one side of the head (unilateral)
    • pain is pulsating or throbbing
    • pain level is moderate or severe
    • pain gets worse when you move, like when walking or climbing stairs
  • attack has at least one of these traits:
    • it makes you sensitive to light (photophobia)
    • it makes you sensitive to sound (phonophobia)
    • you experience nausea with or without vomiting or diarrhea
  • attack isn’t caused by another health problem or diagnosis

Migraine with aura

An aura typically occurs in 25 percent of people who have migraine.

If you have a migraine with aura, you most likely have at least two attacks that have these characteristics:

  • an aura that goes away, is completely reversible, and includes at least one of these symptoms:
    • visual problems (the most common aura symptom)
    • sensory problems of the body, face, or tongue, like numbness, tingling, or dizziness
    • speech or language problems
    • problems moving or weakness, which may last up to 72 hours
  • brainstem symptoms, which includes:
    • difficulty talking or dysarthria (unclear speech)
    • vertigo (a spinning feeling)
    • tinnitus or ringing in the ears
    • diplopia (double vision)
    • ataxia or an inability to control body movements
    • eye problems in only one eye, including flashes of light, blind spots, or temporary blindness (when these symptoms occur, they’re called retinal migraines)
  • an aura that has at least two of these traits:
    • at least one symptom spread gradually over 5 or more minutes
    • each symptom of the aura lasts between 5 minutes and 1 hour (if you have three symptoms, they may last up to 3 hours)
    • at least one symptom of the aura is only on one side of the head, including vision, speech, or language problems
    • aura occurs with the attack or 1 hour before the attack begins
  • attack isn’t caused by another health problem and transient ischemic attack has been excluded as a cause

An aura usually occurs before the headache pain begins, but it can continue once the attack starts. Alternatively, an aura may start at the same time as the attack does.

Chronic migraine

Chronic migraine used to be called a “combination” or “mixed” because it can have features of migraine and a tension headache. It’s also sometimes called a severe migraine headache and can be caused by medication overuse.

People who have chronic migraine have a severe tension headache or migraine attack more than 15 days a month for 3 or more months. More than eight of those attacks are migraine with or without aura.

Some additional risk factors that may make an individual susceptible to chronic migraine include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • another type of chronic pain, like arthritis
  • other serious health problems (comorbidities), like high blood pressure
  • previous head or neck injuries

Acute migraine is a general term for a migraine attack that isn’t diagnosed as chronic. Another name for this type is episodic migraine.

People who have episodic migraine have attacks up to 14 days a month. Thus, people with episodic migraine have fewer attacks a month than people with chronic ones.

Vestibular migraine is also known as migraine-associated vertigo. About 1 percent of the general population lives with vestibular migraine. The symptoms affect balance, cause dizziness, or both. People of any age, including children, may experience vestibular migraine attacks.

If diagnosed, your doctor may suggest you see a vestibular rehabilitation therapist. They can teach you exercises to help you stay balanced when your symptoms are at their worst. Because these migraine attacks can be so debilitating, you and your doctor may talk about taking preventive medications.

According to the National Headache Foundation, menstrual-related migraine affects up to 60 percent of women who experience any type of migraine. It can occur with or without an aura. Attacks can also happen before, during, or after menstruation and during ovulation.

Research has shown that menstrual migraine tends to be more intense, last longer, and have more significant nausea than migraine not associated with the menstrual cycle.

Migraine aura without headache, also called a silent migraine or visual migraine without headache, occurs when a person has an aura, but doesn’t get a headache. This type of migraine is more common in people who start having migraines after age 40.

Visual aura symptoms are most common. With this type of migraine, the aura may gradually occur, with symptoms spreading over several minutes and moving from one symptom to another. After visual symptoms, people may have numbness, speech problems, and/or tingling in the face or hands.

Hormonal migraine, or menstrual migraine, is linked with the female hormones, commonly estrogen. Many people who ovulate report migraine headaches during:

  • their period
  • ovulation
  • pregnancy
  • perimenopause

Many people experience nausea as a symptom of migraine. Many also vomit. These symptoms may start at the same time the attack does. Usually, though, they start about 1 hour after the headache pain begins.

Nausea and vomiting can be as troubling as the attack itself. If you only have nausea, you may be able to take your usual migraine medications. Vomiting, though, can prevent you from being able to take pills or keep them in your body long enough to be absorbed. If you have to delay taking migraine medication, migraine is likely to become more severe.

Treating nausea and preventing vomiting

If you have nausea and vomiting, your doctor may suggest medication to ease nausea called anti-nausea or antiemetic drugs. In this case, the antiemetic can help prevent vomiting and improve nausea.

Acupressure may also be helpful in treating migraine nausea. A 2012 study showed that acupressure reduced the intensity of migraine-associated nausea starting as soon as 30 minutes, gaining improvement over 4 hours.

If you’ve been diagnosed with migraine, there are a few options that may help you prevent a migraine attack. Some may work better for you than others:

  • Learn the foods, smells, and situations that trigger your migraine attacks and avoid those things when possible.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to both dizziness and headaches.
  • Avoid skipping meals when possible.
  • Focus on quality sleep. A good night’s sleep is important for overall health.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Make it a priority to reduce stress in your life.
  • Invest time and energy in developing relaxation skills.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise has been linked to lowered stress levels.

Doctors diagnose migraine by listening to your symptoms, taking a thorough medical and family history, and performing a physical exam to rule out other potential causes.

Imaging scans, like a CT scan or MRI, can rule out other causes, including:

  • tumors
  • abnormal brain structures
  • stroke

Surgery for migraine isn’t recommended, but some medical tools have been studied and endorsed for helping lessen migraine attacks by either decreasing or increasing nervous system activity. Currently, the FDA has approved four neuromodulation treatments:

  • single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulator, a handheld device that produces a magnetic impulse that affects electrical signaling in the brain
  • transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulator, a small, noninvasive tool that targets the vagus nerve in the neck via electrical stimulation
  • transcutaneous supraorbital neurostimulator, a device that simulates the supraorbital nerves with electrical stimulation
  • multi-channel brain neuromodulation system, a headset that can target multiple nerves in the head

Talk with your doctor about the best neuromodulation treatment for you and your specific type of migraine.

Children can have many of the same types of migraine as adults.

Until they’re older teens, children may be more likely to have symptoms on both sides of the head. It’s rare for children to have headache pain in the back of the head. Their migraine attacks tend to last 2 to 72 hours.

A few migraine variants are more common in children. One of the more common variants is abdominal migraine.

Abdominal migraine

Children with abdominal migraine may have a stomachache instead of a headache. The pain can be moderate or severe. Usually, pain is in the middle of the stomach, around the belly button. But the pain may not be in this specific area. The belly may just feel “sore.”

Your child may also have experience headache. Other symptoms can include:

  • lack of appetite
  • nausea with or without vomiting
  • sensitivity to light or sound

Children who have abdominal migraine are likely to develop more typical migraine symptoms as adults.

For many pregnant people, their migraine attacks improve during pregnancy. But they may become worse following delivery due to sudden hormonal shifts. Attacks during pregnancy need special attention to make sure that the cause of the attack is understood.

Research is ongoing, but a recent small study showed that women with migraine during pregnancy experienced a higher rate of having:

  • preterm or early delivery
  • preeclampsia
  • a baby born with low birth weight

Certain migraine medications may not be considered safe during pregnancy. This can include aspirin. If you have migraine during pregnancy, work with your doctor to find ways to treat your migraine that won’t harm your developing baby.

The frequent and recurring use of migraine medication can sometimes cause what’s known as medication overuse headache (previously called a rebound headache).

When determining how to deal with migraine, talk with your doctor about the frequency of your medication intake. Also, make sure to discuss alternatives to medications.

Migraine and tension headaches, the most common type of headaches, share some similar symptoms. But migraine is also associated with many symptoms not shared by tension headaches. Migraine and tension headaches also respond differently to the same treatments.

Both tension headaches and migraine can have:

  • mild-to-moderate pain
  • a steady ache
  • pain on both sides of the head

Only migraine can have these symptoms:

  • moderate-to-severe pain
  • pounding or throbbing
  • an inability to do your usual activities
  • pain on one side of the head
  • nausea with or without vomiting
  • an aura
  • sensitivity to light, sound, or both

You can try a few things at home that may also help remedy the pain from migraine:

  • Lie down in a quiet, darkroom.
  • Massage your scalp or temples.
  • Place a cold cloth over your forehead or behind your neck.

Sometimes the symptoms of migraine can mimic those of a stroke. It’s important to seek immediate medical attention if you or a loved one has a headache that:

  • causes slurred speech or drooping on one side of the face
  • causes new leg or arm weakness
  • comes on very suddenly and severely with no lead-in symptoms or warning
  • occurs with a fever, neck stiffness, confusion, seizure, double vision, weakness, numbness, or difficulty speaking
  • has an aura where the symptoms last longer than an hour
  • would be called the “worst headache ever”
  • is accompanied by loss of consciousness

If headaches are getting in the way of your daily life, and you’re not sure if they are a migraine symptom, it’s important to talk with your doctor. Headaches can be a sign of other issues, and while migraine can feel debilitating at times, there are many treatments available.

The sooner you start to talk about your symptoms, the sooner your doctor can get you on a treatment plan that may include medication and lifestyle changes.

Read this article in Spanish.

Why does my head hurt in the evening and at night: a neurologist named non-obvious causes

  • Health

What is the difference between a headache during the day and in the evening, at night? Could this be a migraine, because it is generally believed that it happens only during the day. What is dangerous headache at night and how you can help yourself – explains the neurologist.

August 21, 2022


Headaches are familiar to almost everyone and can occur under a variety of circumstances. These are hangovers, overwork, infections, some somatic diseases and metabolic disorders. Often, one of the ways to deal with a headache is to get enough sleep. But it happens that a headache occurs in the evening, before bedtime or even during it, awakening a person and interfering with rest.

How dangerous is it and what health problems does the occurrence of evening or nighttime headaches indicate? When to see a doctor? Aleksey Shibalev, a neurologist at the Center for Molecular Diagnostics CMD of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor, told Doctor Peter about this.

When it hurts only at night

It is at night that the headache does not occur very often. However, neurologists distinguish exclusively nocturnal or so-called “hypnic headache”. This is a rare form of headaches that occurs exclusively at night, and is often called “alarm” due to the peculiarities of its occurrence and course.

An attack of pain occurs 2-6 hours after falling asleep, always wakes up, the attack lasts from 15 minutes to an hour and a half. The pain is diffuse, bilateral, of moderate intensity. May occur almost every night. At the end of the attack, people fall asleep again. It is more common in women over 50 years of age.

Read also

It hurts at night more often than during the day

Also, headaches develop mainly at night with venous dysfunction – obstruction of venous outflow from the cranial cavity. They are bilateral arching in nature, aggravated by coughing, difficult to eliminate by taking painkillers. The diagnosis is established by the MRI picture – during the examination, blood flow disturbances in the venous sinuses of the brain will be distinguishable.

Coitus headaches that occur after sexual activity can be classified as conditionally nocturnal headaches. All other types of headaches are considered “universal” and occur both day and night.

Tension and muscle pains

It has been noticed that tension headaches may increase in the evening, especially if they occur against the background of psycho-emotional stress during the day. Then they can continue at night.

Headaches associated with an uncomfortable bed, pillow, tightly tied hair have a muscular nature. This also includes headaches, “coming from the neck.” In these cases, it is enough to choose a suitable mattress, an orthopedic pillow, and not to pull your hair into a bun.

Other causes of evening and nighttime headaches

  1. Nighttime headaches can be caused by conditions that lead to hypoxia (lack of oxygen supply to the brain): stuffy room, snoring, sleep apnea (stop breathing during sleep).

  2. Nighttime consumption of caffeinated products and alcohol . Drink better kefir.

  3. Night headaches may occur with uncontrolled overuse painkillers . This dangerous condition requires the complete abolition of analgesics under the supervision of a physician.

  4. Primary “thundering” headache is a severe “explosive” type of pain that appears suddenly, like a “thunderbolt”, with a maximum intensity of pain at the very beginning (usually within the first 30 seconds) of the attack and subsides afterwards. It can occur in people who abuse marijuana and ecstasy, cocaine, as well as against the background of uncontrolled use of ergotamine and triptans (anti-migraine drugs), some antidepressants.

  5. People who follow a strict diet and refuse to eat in the evening often experience hungry headaches at night associated with a decrease in blood glucose.

See also

Ice prick in the night

Primary stabbing headache is a separate type of headaches. Another name is “ice prick”. As a rule, it occurs suddenly in the orbit, parietal or temporal region, lasts about 5 seconds. Often seen in patients with migraine. It does not require special treatment, it is not dangerous.

Migraine attacks can also occur at night: 1/3 of migraine patients have nocturnal attacks, and 15% of migraine pains occur exclusively at night.

The most excruciating pain

One of the most severe and unbearable headaches – cluster (beam) cephalgia is the most insidious: when a person, exhausted by daytime headache attacks, finally manages to fall asleep, 20 minutes after falling asleep he can be truly “covered” by an attack hellish pain. There are even cases of suicides of people suffering from cephalalgia. Fortunately, attacks of cluster headaches are now stopped by inhalations of pure oxygen and drugs from the triptan group.

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When you need a doctor

It is necessary to consult a doctor in case of a first-time headache, a sharp increase or a change in the nature of “usual” headaches to rule out any new disease or exacerbate an existing one.

We must not forget that many diseases of the internal organs, endocrine glands, blood vessels can be manifested by the appearance of a headache or an increase in existing headaches. The treatment of each type of headache is different, it is not worth experimenting with drugs on your own.

Text author:Alena Paretskaya

Have you had a headache for a long time, but you don’t know the reason? Experts explain what’s wrong



What habits cause headaches?

TEXT: Maria Chekalina

We found out what eleven seemingly harmless habits can be the causes of headaches.


You abuse painkillers


You suddenly started exercising after a break


You are constantly working at your laptop…


You “sit” on coffee or have decided to give it up abruptly


… or look at your phone


Do you like to collect hair in a tight ponytail


You like to eat red wine with cheese


You are a heavy smoker


You just had Botox injections 9000 7


You clench your teeth in anger


You sleep too much


1. You abuse painkillers

Svetlana Saenko, PhD, neurologist at Verba Mayr Austrian Health Center:

“Painkillers that are dispensed without prescription drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, save most headaches. But if you take them constantly, the opposite effect may occur: the headache will return as soon as you stop using the medicine. If you suffer from frequent, intense pain, see a doctor.

2. You suddenly started exercising after a break

Yuri Gavrish, PMP (Pilates PMP) monostudio network trainer:

“We respond to stress (including physical activity) with the release of hormones. This is designed by nature to make it easier to endure stress and recover faster. With an incorrectly chosen load, hormones (mostly adrenaline and noradrenaline) provoke an increase in blood pressure, vasoconstriction and, as a result, a headache. Most often, it begins during training and continues for some time after it.

In addition to an adequate load, one should not forget about recovery. During this period, hormones important for our body are also produced. They help to recover and prepare for new stresses and physical exertion. My advice to beginners: don’t mess with strength and interval training, increase the load gradually.”

Anton Feoktistov, co-founder of the Pro Trener network of studios:

“Due to intense training, pressure can rise and, as a result, headaches can occur. Sometimes even one workout can provoke such a state, sometimes the cumulative effect of several workouts in a row. A specific exercise can trigger a headache: for example, too heavy weight, unreasonably intense cardio, or a quick transition from a lying position to a standing position. And of course, you need to make sure that there is enough oxygen in the room during training.”

Yulia Ptichkina, physician in sports and rehabilitation medicine of the Crocus Fitness fitness club chain:

“With physical activity, cardiac output increases. That is, the amount of blood that needs to be pumped to the heart and blood vessels increases several times, an untrained body is simply not ready for this. With very intense cardio loads, a spasm of the diaphragm may also occur, which manifests itself in difficulty in inhaling and exhaling and feeling short of breath.”

There is no consensus on the relationship between pressure and headache, but this possibility cannot be ruled out.

3. You “sit” on coffee or suddenly decide to give it up

Svetlana Saenko, PhD, neurologist at the Austrian health center Verba Mayr:

“People prone to headaches often get coffee relief. In moderation, caffeine is beneficial. But drinking coffee cup after cup during the day (that is, more than three), you can provoke headaches. The reason for this may be the pharmacological effects of caffeine, namely the narrowing of cerebral vessels.

At the same time, if you are already accustomed to a certain dose of caffeine per day, a sharp reduction in caffeine will worsen the situation. When a person stops consuming caffeine, his blood vessels dilate too much, which also causes headaches. It takes a little time for the body to adapt to the lack of caffeine, so for some people, headaches can last a week or more.”

4. You are constantly working on your laptop…

Natalia Veryasova, co-founder, leading osteopath, neurologist of the family clinic of osteopathy and classical medicine OSTEO POLY CLINIC:

“Most of the time, we sit incorrectly at a laptop, craning our neck forward, trying to see something on the screen. This position of the head interferes with the outflow-inflow of blood to the head, causes tension in the muscles of the neck and shoulder girdle. A laptop is not the best solution for constant work. It is better to work at a desktop computer, when the elbows are on the table, the screen is adjusted in height, and the neck is not stretched anywhere. Stretch regularly, do a warm-up for the neck, twist it in all directions.

5. … or call

Natalya Veryasova, co-founder, leading osteopath, neurologist of the family clinic of osteopathy and classical medicine OSTEO POLY CLINIC:

Muscles that control the eyes (oculomotor muscles) and muscles located on the border of the neck and heads (suboccipital) – synergists. This means that they work in sync. If, due to visual load, the oculomotor muscles tense up, then the tension is transmitted to the suboccipital muscles. And the smaller the font and the more time we spend in front of the smartphone screen, the faster and more tired the muscles of the eyes and, accordingly, the neck. Tension headache threatens all lovers of “hanging out” on the phone.

6. You are a heavy smoker

Svetlana Saenko, PhD, neurologist at the Austrian Health Center Verba Mayr:

“Smoking triggers headaches because nicotine constricts the blood vessels in the brain. People report improvements in their condition after they quit smoking or become less exposed to tobacco smoke.”

7. Anger makes you clench your teeth

Natalya Veryasova, co-founder, leading osteopathic doctor, neurologist of the OSTEO POLY CLINIC Family Clinic of Osteopathy and Classical Medicine:

“Spasms of the masticatory muscles can cause headaches. Sometimes, in response to negative news, we automatically clench our teeth and hold our breath. As a result, breathing becomes shallow, which leads to insufficient saturation of the body with oxygen.

Due to the frequent compression of the teeth (bruxism), people even wear their teeth. The main cause of bruxism is stress, psychotherapy, breathing practices and xenon therapy can cope with it (xenon reduces the level of cortisol, the main stress hormone). And during the day it helps to yawn widely and sweetly with a sound. This relieves spasm from the chewing muscles, relaxes it.

Stanislav Vafin, Chief Physician of the Swiss Smile Dental Clinic, PhD, Associate Professor and Orthopedic Dentist:

Nocturnal bruxism leads to headaches in the morning. You need to fight this in order to normalize sleep and feel good in the morning. Nighttime bruxism is a protective reaction of the body to stress, and if a person does not clench his teeth, then, perhaps, other body systems will suffer to compensate.

Try to avoid stressful situations, relax (for example, do yoga). But often it is difficult. There are mouthguards for teeth that prevent the possibility of closing your teeth at night and grinding them. The simplest soft mouthguards are made very quickly and are inexpensive. There are more complex ones that correct the bite and position of the jaw. For a competent selection, you should contact a dentist who treats bite and teeth grinding problems.

8. Do you like eating red wine with cheese? and Swiss. This is due to the substance tyramine. The more solid the age of the cheese, the more it manages to accumulate tyramine in the composition. Tyramine is also found in red wine and pickled vegetables. Processed meat, ham, various sausages and smoked meats contain tyramine.”

Basically, tyramine is a breakdown product of proteins. The longer a high-protein food is stored, the more tyramine it contains. Tyramine greatly increases blood pressure, which is especially dangerous for people taking antidepressants (specifically, a group of inhibitors of the monoamine oxidase enzyme), since this combination can cause tyramine (“cheese”) syndrome.

9. Do you like to collect your hair in a tight ponytail?0007

“A tight tail stretches the connective tissue of the scalp, causing tension and pain in the head. Headbands, tight braids and tight hats lead to the same consequences.

10. You just had Botox injections

Ekaterina Medvedeva, dermatologist and cosmetologist at the TORI Aesthetic Medicine Clinic:

“Some patients (only 8-9%) have a headache after botulinum toxin injections in the forehead area. The mechanism for the appearance of this pain is not fully known, not a single cosmetologist can name the exact cause. We can only assume that there are a number of factors that provoke such a reaction of the body.

We know that botulinum toxin is the strongest poison. Obviously, the immune system of some patients reacts in this way to poison entering the body, even in microscopic doses.

The face is a powerful receptor field. We inject the drug directly into the face: we pierce the skin and muscles. The needle even reaches the periosteum (the tissue that envelops the bone, it contains many nerves and blood vessels) when we inject into the forehead area. And our receptors react to this with pain sensations.

The PH of the drug we are injecting is different from the blood pH. It turns out that we introduce a more acidic drug into the tissue, it is perceived by the body as an aggressive environment. At the points of injection of the drug, there may be a feeling of slight discomfort, aches.