Can anger trigger headaches?

It is important to note that anger can damage the body. An episode of anger can last for merely seconds but can lead to both physical and psychological issues. The hormones flood through the bloodstream while the muscles contract edgily and the mind works intensely.

The mix of these undesirable actions can lead to a headache. This type of headache is similar with any other form of headache, but it has some distinction when it comes to the treatment and preventive measures.

Types of headaches caused by anger

The most prevalent type of headache that is triggered by anger is a tension headache. This type of headache is characterized by dull pain accompanied by muscle tension in the neck region. Some experience light and sound sensitivity. Essentially, these headaches are considered as a minor nuisance and not debilitating in any way.


Always bear in mind that anger is not the direct cause of a headache but a secondary cause due to the state of the body while angry.

Anger can also lead to migraine headaches. It is important to note that migraines are more severe than tension headaches in which the pain is severe and pulsating. Unlike with tension headaches, they generally affect one side of the head and interfere with daily tasks. In addition, it can also be linked with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and blurred vision.

Causes of headaches when angry

Always bear in mind that anger is not the direct cause of a headache but a secondary cause due to the state of the body while angry. Individuals who clench their teeth when angry are more likely to experience a headache. Remember that the grinding sensation adds stress to the facial muscles.

In the same way, rage triggers the “fight-or-flight” mechanism in the body which results to the release of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. As a consequence, the blood vessels constrict with diminished oxygen and nutrient transport to the brain. Understandably, this results to a headache.

Prevention of anger-related headaches

The ideal treatment for headaches due to anger is to minimize the triggers that cause anger. In reality, anger is not properly controlled by those with tension or migraine headaches than individuals who have not experienced episodes of chronic headaches.

The best way to control anger is to practice deep breaths or counting slowly until the feeling passes. An active lifestyle can also help reduce headaches, thus it is recommended to exercise regularly. In addition, relaxing activities such as yoga and massage can release muscle tension and ease the feelings of anger.


Minimizing anger is not an easy task. Headaches caused by anger can be decreased by using the same types of pain medications for headaches due to other causes. These include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin as well as over-the-counter medications for headaches and pain such as acetaminophen.

There are some medications that can cause undesirable side effects such as blood thinning as well as stomach upset. In addition, regular use of over-the-counter pain medications can result to rebound headaches when the drug is stopped. Due to this, recurrent headaches that need medication would require the individual to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Warning signs

In some cases, headaches might indicate an urgent health issue. It is vital to seek medical care right away if the individual experiences a severe headache that occurs abruptly or if he/she experiences confusion, weakness or vision loss along with the headache.


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