After a long and tiring day at work or school, you go home and rush to your bed, thankful that you can finally rest. But just when you’re about to close your eyes and go to sleep, you feel a sudden pinch of pain in your head. It started as a small, tolerable pain, so you just ignore it. The next thing you know, you’re already enduring a splitting headache that keeps you up all night. And the same thing happens again the next day. And the next day. And the next day.
There are two biological happenings that are known to cause headaches.
The first one, and the more common, is muscle contraction. This happens when the nerves either get compressed within the brain muscles or get irritated because of metabolic waste buildup. Both these incidents lower the blood and lymph circulation in our brain and make our brain muscles contract, causing pain and discomfort.
The second one is vascular irregularities which cause cluster headaches, migraine, and substance withdrawal headaches (like in the case of caffeine). Arteries in the head expand and contract alternately, exerting pressure on the arterial nerves and resulting in sharp pain.
Either (or, in rare cases, both) of these biological happenings occur when the body experiences an abrupt hormonal imbalance. This sudden change disrupts the normal flow of activity in the brain and triggers the nerves and arteries in the brain to react, resulting in headache.
Almost 90% of all headaches are due to muscle contraction, which is usually caused by sudden irregularities, either insufficient or excessive, in the supply of nutrients or substance in the brain during hormonal imbalance. A hormonal imbalance can happen if a change inside or outside the body is triggered. A trigger may involve any of our five senses, or it may also come from any of our internal organs.
Each person has a different trigger or set of triggers. A person may get a headache upon smelling strong perfume while another person doesn’t react similarly upon smelling the same perfume. Also, each of these triggers has different levels of sensitivities. One person may instantly get a headache upon exposure to bright light while another person will need to have a longer exposure before getting a headache.
What Causes Headaches In The Evening?
One possible reason why someone gets headaches in the evening is stress. Stress is our body’s way of responding to any demand, whether positive or negative. When a person encounters a stressful situation, the body reacts by releasing chemicals in the blood. These chemicals can be released in forms of energy (in cases of physical stress) or remain stagnant in the blood (in cases of emotional stress).
Either way, stress requires the body to do more than its normal capacity. This demand changes the hormonal balance in our body, although we rarely notice it when we are “in the moment” since our entire body is tensed. So after a day at work, when the mind is already relaxed, that’s when we start noticing the muscle contractions in our brain due to the irregular blood flow in the nerves caused by stress.
If stress is causing you headaches, try this relaxation exercise for stress relief.
Correlated to stress as a contributor for recurring headaches is fatigue. When our body doesn’t get enough rest, it will require more effort in performing day-to-day tasks. Since these outbursts are different from our body’s normal routine, a change in the flow of hormones and chemicals in the brain occurs. Depending on a person’s tolerance, this change can result in either a short discomfort in the head or a throbbing headache that may last for hours.
Fatigue can also be caused by improper posture, whether during the day or while sleeping. Poor posture disturbs the natural alignment of the head and the spine which is essential in maintaining a smooth and healthy blood flow to our brain. Prolonged sitting in front of the computer or a bad sleeping position can cause disruptions in the blood flow, which may result in headaches.
Improper diet is also a factor that increases the probability of getting recurring headaches in the evening. If our body is not getting enough nutrients, our internal organs will not be able to function properly. This can cause to other illnesses like constipation or diarrhea. These changes greatly affect our blood circulation, thus our brain doesn’t receive the nutrients and substances it needs on a regular basis. This can cause a buildup of metabolic wastes that obstruct the blood vessels in the brain.
How to prevent/relieve hedaches in the evening
There are more reasons why a person may encounter recurring headaches in the evening. Although not all headaches can be cured, most can be prevented without the need for painkillers and medications. The key is to minimize potential triggers for hormonal imbalance as much as possible.
By maintaining a healthy lifestyle with proper diet and sufficient rest and relaxation, our body maintains a smooth and normal blood flow which is vital in maintaining hormonal balance. Do not let a recurring headache keep you up all night. Get the ache out of your head and get your head in the more important things in life.
Here is a simple exercise that helps you to relieve headaches in the evening.
Check out Good Relaxation videos for more headache relief exercises.
Image: Send me adrift