Anxiety is the type of condition that changes your body chemistry dramatically. Those changes can have a very real effect on the way that you feel, and one common problem is some type of head pain.
Head pain can refer to any type of discomfort – from headaches, to migraines, to unusual sensations in the head – and while some of them are unusual, all of them can be related to anxiety.
Head Pain = Anxiety?
If you're living with discomfort around your head and neck and doctors have ruled out any health conditions, you may be suffering from anxiety. Find out if your symptoms are related to anxiety and how to cure them with my free 7 minute anxiety test.
Causes of Anxiety Head Pain
Pain in the head and neck is a very real problem when you're suffering from anxiety, and there are actually many different reasons for head pain. Of course, headaches are rarely the only symptom, so make sure you've taken my anxiety test now to get a better idea of what symptoms matter and what don't.
There are several potential causes for head pain. Just a few include:
- Triggered Migraines Stress and anxiety are known to trigger migraine headaches, and migraine headaches can cause a considerable amount of pain. Migraines can be extremely problematic with anxiety because they have a tendency to lead to further problems with concentration, vision, and more, all of which may increase further anxiety.
- Tension Headaches Stress also creates tension headaches. Tension headaches are headaches caused by tensing of the muscles in the face and neck, as well as pressure in certain nerves as a result teeth clenching. Tension headaches tend to be in the temples, but can be in other parts of the head as well.
- Sensitivity to Lighter Pain Some mild headaches happen surprisingly often, but they go unnoticed because they're mild enough to be ignored. But when you have anxiety, you can become oversensitive to these types of sensations in a way that makes the pain amplified.
Also, when you have anxiety and stress, you tend to experience changes in your neurotransmitters and nutrition. Many issues – such as serotonin changes and magnesium deficiencies – can lead to the development of various types of headaches and pains.
Head pain is simply very common, and it comes in all shapes and sizes. Some people report shooting pains. Others report dull pains. Others report a feeling as though a bubble is in the back of your head. Head problems are very common, and in some cases they can cause more anxiety.
Secrets to Overcoming Anxiety Head Pain
Most discomfort in the head caused by anxiety is treated as though the person didn't have anxiety. For example, migraines respond well to migraine medications, even though the migraine itself was due to your anxiety. Treating headaches as a separate issue is usually enough to find relief from the pain.
You should make sure that you're eating the right foods (try to add magnesium into your diet if you're low) and that you're drinking a great deal of water, sleeping roughly 7 to 9 hours (no more), using glasses if you need them and walking around as much as possible as well. That's because these are issues that can occasionally lead to mild headaches, and since mild headaches are often amplified with anxiety, it's important to decrease the frequency of these mild headaches in order to find relief.
But all of these are only strategies to help decrease the severity of the head pain when you experience it. You'll still need to cure your anxiety if you want the discomforts to go away forever.
I've helped many people experiencing head pain gain control of their symptoms. Start with my free 7 minute anxiety test. This test will help you learn a great deal about your symptoms and show you what you can do to solve them.
Start the test here, now.
Wacogne, C., et al. Stress, anxiety, depression and migraine. Cephalalgia 23.6 (2003): 451-455.
Devlen, J. Anxiety and depression in migraine. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 87.6 (1994): 338.
Victor, T. W., et al. Association between migraine, anxiety and depression. Cephalalgia (2009).
Radat, F., and J. Swendsen. Psychiatric comorbidity in migraine: a review. Cephalalgia 25.3 (2005): 165-178.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.