Neurology Insights

6 Causes of Summertime Headaches

A Man with a Headache

When it comes to headaches and migraines, it is normal to experience some level of discomfort at different points in your life. However, headaches triggered by this change in season can often increase or even worsen underlying health conditions for some individuals.

1. Stress

Everyone experiences some degree of stress in their daily life. Whether it is career, school, or family, juggling many tasks from day to day can become challenging and often stressful.

Studies have shown that increasing or adding new stressors in your life may be contributing to troublesome headaches. A study conducted by the American Academy of Neurology shed light on the relationship between stress and headaches. After measuring the stress levels of participants over the course of two years, individuals who experienced more stress were found to experience a significantly higher number of sick headaches and migraines overall.

If you have found yourself struggling with these symptoms, know you’re not alone: Living under the stress of the global pandemic has posed a unique set of challenges and psychological stressors, causing an increase in headaches. Some specialists claim that the frequency and intensity of headaches and migraines have increased in their patients throughout this period.

For more on managing your stress levels, feel free to check out Stress: YourBrain & Your Body. Also, ask Dr. Kandel to provide you with a self-directed “Mindfulness” link.

2. Seasonal Changes

If you’ve found yourself experiencing more headaches as the summer months progress, there is a high chance this can be due to a steep rise in temperatures. The link between environmental heat and the brain is powerful. Dehydration, dysregulation, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke are all common during the summer months when the temperature rises. As blood vessels expand, this creates neurological symptoms, signaling your body to rest, hydrate more, and cool down.

Summertime is also a time when individuals tend to be more physically active, change their routines, or indulge in substances like alcohol—all of which could contribute to dehydration and an increase in frequency or intensity of headaches.

For more tips on how the benefits of hydration, check out: Experience Relief Through Hydration.

3. Injury or Trauma

Many seasonal activities, such as summertime sports and outings, can cause injury or trauma that contribute to “sick” headaches.

Even a minor impact can cause discomfort in your neck or shoulders. Driving on the road and experiencing minor whiplash is enough to cause sensitivity to your cervical spine contributing to headaches and other pain.

If you experience headaches after a minor accident, sport-related activity, or motor vehicle accident, do not hesitate to get evaluated!

For more information on ways to improve physical injury, check out Physical Therapy Benefits and Solutions.

4. Underlying Health Conditions

Individuals managing underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, allergies, or an autoimmune condition need to be particularly proactive during the summer months. Symptoms can worsen in the summertime due to the body’s natural functions that manage the heat.

Allergies are also a common culprit of headaches that develop or worsen in the summer months. People experiencing allergy symptoms may also get sinus headaches or discomfort throughout the sinus area and face. All of this may be a trigger for migraine headaches.

If you are struggling with debilitating migraine symptoms, visit our article to learn more about the benefits of Botox injections: Botox Intervention: A Complementary Approach

5. Poor Posture

Poor posture has been proven to create increased tension and stress in your muscular and neurological system. This tension in your shoulders, neck, and spine can translate to tension around your head.

I always advise my patients to be mindful throughout the workday when it comes to posture. Sitting in a way that causes your head to protrude forward may cause an increase in headaches, worsen headaches, or worse, develop chronic migraines.

Unfortunately, poor neck positioning has become increasingly familiar with the rise in technology use. If you have found yourself struggling with posture, make it a goal to set an alarm by the hour and take a moment to get up, stretch and readjust.

For more on ways to improve your posture, check out our in-depth article on Prioritizing Your Posture

6. Diet and Other Lifestyle Factors

An increase or decrease in substances such as caffeine, sugar, or alcohol has been shown to cause headaches.

Fluctuating glucose levels impact your brain as much as, if not more than, all your other organs. The fluctuations can cause changes in mood and thinking which can create neurological symptoms such as headaches.

For more tips on how to stay healthy this summer season, feel free to visit our article here: Neurology Tips for Summer

If you have concerns about reoccurring or worsening headaches or other neurological symptoms, be sure to consult your neurologist right away for a treatment plan designed best for you.

A message from Dr. Kandel:

“While summer is often a time of great fun and relaxation, it is important to develop and maintain healthy habits. Exercise in moderation, hydration, and managing stress are essential for you to get the most enjoyment out of summer….and all year long!”

Feel free to share this with the people in your life who may benefit from this information! For more insights on neurology, check out our weekly tips on our Neurology Office Facebook page.

“To Cure Sometimes, To Heal Often, To Comfort Always”

Neurology Office, Joseph Kandel M.D. and Associates

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