ZocdocAnswersCan stress really cause headaches?

Question

Can stress really cause headaches?

I don't what other cause there would be, but I am getting a lot of headaches lately and have been super stressed out. Can being stressed out give you headaches? What are good ways to reduce my stress?

Answer

It is well known that stress can be harmful to our physical as well as emotional and psychological health. Stress-related disorders can present in many different venues. A person can experience it from depression, anxiety, emotional strain, fatigue, headaches, poor concentration, dissatisfaction and many bodily symptoms (i.e., abdominal pain, joint and back pain etc.). If you already have a medical condition, stress can certainly exacerbate it. Common findings include that it worsens diabetes or high blood pressure control. Work stress has been documented to cause a variety of illnesses, but the most well-known condition is low back pain associated with a stressful work environment. In particular, a poor working relationship with your superior is highly correlated to symptoms. Everyone can be affected by stress, but those who are in the managerial or lower ranking workers tend to have the most pressure or exposure to stress. That said, we do not know every effect of stress that has on our body. However, we do know that it increases our adrenaline level that contributes to our fight or flight or sympathetic response. When this part of our autonomic nervous system is cranked up for a prolonged time, it affects our immune system making us susceptible to common ailments. You can improve your response by first figuring out what stresses you out and then deciding on an outlet. Many people find exercise, talking about the situation, or doing something relaxing can really help. However, it is important to recognize that it is difficult to prevent stress from occurring. But, it is possible to learn to recognize the triggers and practice to respond in ways that improve rather than worsen the situation. In any case, you would benefit from seeing a primary care physician who can further assist you. I recommend that you make an appointment today.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.