Cold can cause headaches

Freezing triggers headaches

Some people have more headaches in autumn and winter. One possible cause: freezing. The Association of German Neurologists (BVDN) explains the connection and gives tips on how to prevent headaches.

Tension headaches are characterized by dull, pressing or pulling pain throughout the head. Sometimes the pain runs from the neck to the forehead. The head is often heavy and the eyes are tired. Many people complain of increased tension headaches, especially in winter. Maybe it's because of the cold. “Even a brief sensation of cold and freezing can then lead to the affected person pulling up their shoulders and tensing their muscles in this area. Over time, the tension spreads over the neck and head and can lead to headaches, ”reports Dr. Frank Bergmann from BVDN. The expert adds: "Even cold wind on the head can cause tension headaches because the thin muscles under the scalp contract like a spasm."

Self-treatment for occasional complaints

If adults have occasional transient tension headaches, over-the-counter pain medication is a good option to relieve the discomfort. “Medicines such as acetylsalicylic acid, ibuprofen or paracetamol help with acute complaints. However, the drugs should be taken less than 10 times a month. If painkillers are taken over a long period of time, the headache can worsen or become chronic and a number of undesirable side effects can occur, ”warns the neurologist. The pharmacist will advise on which preparation is best suited in each individual case.

Those who prefer herbal medicines can use peppermint oil or tiger balm. Brushed or gently massaged into the temples, they alleviate the symptoms of acute tension headaches. If headaches occur more than once a month over a longer period, they should definitely be professionally clarified, recommends Dr. Miner.

Prevent headaches by keeping warm, relaxing and moving

In order to prevent tension headaches, it is important that sensitive people do not let the cold reach them unprotected. A hat, scarf and gloves should therefore accompany those affected through the winter. “Work in poorly ventilated rooms, constant posture or stress and psychosocial stress are also considered pain enhancers,” explains Dr. Miner. Relaxation methods such as yoga or autogenic training can be useful as a preventive measure. The same applies to sport: "Regular physical exercise can help to reduce internal tension and at the same time to give blood to the muscles to strengthen and relax", says Dr. Miner.


11/27/2015 | Sandra Göbel / BVDN