There are a number of reasons why you might get a headache. Most people know about the usual causes of headaches like not drinking enough water, drinking too much caffeine (or not enough), or not sleeping enough. However, some people experience headaches and have absolutely no explanation for them. Some headache causes are a bit unusual but once you determine what your triggers are, you can seek treatment and avoid headaches altogether.

Woman in large yellow sweater massages the temple of her forehead due to headache

1. Sensitive Brain Cells

Scientists don’t quite understand what happens to the brain when a migraine occurs. However, one theory is that some people who experience migraines more frequently and experience more sensitivity have overexcited brain cells that trigger an electric wave around the brain. The wave then triggers serotonin and prostaglandin production and dilated blood vessels which will cause a bad headache.

2. Flashing Lights

Studies show that 85% of migraine sufferers experience sensitivity to flashing or bright lights. Another study indicated that flashing lights produced the slightest uptick in headache frequency. Although the study didn’t show an uptick large enough to prove anything, it is possible that flashing lights can trigger a headache.

3. Hormones

A change in hormones can cause the slightest headache. For instance, many women experience headaches during menstruation because of the hormone change. Although some hormones can cause headaches, others might cure them. A study found that oxytocin, the love hormone, can reduce the frequency of headaches.

4. Lightning

A study from 2012 found that people who witnessed lightning strikes were 28% more likely to experience a headache that same day. Although there’s no clear reason why this is the case, it’s safe to assume that the electricity from lightning can disrupt electrical waves in the brain.

5. Hunger

Skipping a meal might sound like a good way to reduce your caloric intake, but going too long without food can trigger a migraine or headache. Pay attention to your hunger cues and only skip a meal if you absolutely need to. Otherwise, you might pay the price of a headache later.

6. Cheese and Wine

Having a romantic dinner with chocolate, wine, and cheese sound like an amazing idea but it might result in a headache. Experts aren’t sure why these three foods trigger migraines but if you happen to experience one after consuming all three, it’s best to skip your next wine tasting or you might pay the price.

7. TMJ

The last unusual cause of headaches and migraines is TMJ. Once you learn more about TMJ you won’t think it’s that unusual. TMJ disorders occur when your jaw system experiences an imbalance. The imbalance results in excessive pressure on the temporomandibular joints which are located alongside the largest muscles in the face. When the jaw joints experience pain, it can spread into the muscles and make its way around your head and neck, causing headaches.

TMJ can cause several types of headaches but most commonly referred pain headaches, tension headaches, and migraines.

If you experience headaches and migraines frequently and can’t figure out what’s triggering them, it might be TMJ. If you suspect TMJ is the cause, please contact Smile Columbia Dentistry to schedule a consultation with our TMJ dentist in Columbia, SC, Dr. Adam Hahn. Please call (803) 781-9090 to schedule an appointment. Once you receive a diagnosis, we can provide you with a treatment plan that provides you with headache relief.