Headaches and Overstimulation
A major trigger for migraines comes from sensory overload. The surrounding environment is
full of sounds, sights, and smells that overstimulate the senses and cause headaches. Cities are often full of overwhelming sensory elements, such as large crowds of people, bright lights, peculiar smells, and traffic sounds. Working in a professional environment can overwhelm the brain. The fluorescent lights, enclosed spaces, and indoor circulated air are all factors that can contribute to headaches.
Even being at home, your senses can be overwhelmed. Weather changes can affect your body,
such as a sudden increase or decrease in temperature, humidity, or pollen. If you have children,
then you may feel overstimulated by their habits, whether it be crying, yelling, or running
chaotically around the house.
Students can also experience sensory overstimulation. In school, they are constantly surrounded
by other people and are indoors for long periods of time. The absence of fresh air and time alone
is aptly felt by many students. Even when students are not in school, they are overstimulated by
their studies. Many students spend hours in front of a computer screen or phone screen. The blue
light is a headache trigger, and also the poor posture students use while using their devices can
also trigger headaches. Extended periods of studying can overwhelm the brain, resulting in
exhaustion and lack of sleep. A vicious cycle ensues, of sleep deprivation and headaches.
How do you overcome all these factors? How can you go on working
professionally, or studying, or being a stay at home parent?
The first step towards improvement is building an awareness of your environment. What
are the sights, sounds, and smells surrounding you in a given moment? Recognize when you
begin to feel stressed or overwhelmed. Then, begin to connect certain senses with
headache or stress triggers.
Once you have identified the factors that attribute to your overstimulation, you can begin to
manipulate those factors or change your habits to remedy the situation. For example,
if you work in an office space full of people and bright lights, carve out time for yourself to step
away from your desk and the people a few times during the day. Give your brain and body a
break. Go outside and walk around the office building during your lunch break. Exercise before
or after work to relieve stress. Explore the option of putting non-fluorescent lightbulbs over your
If you are a student, be smart about your study habits. Know how much time you are
spending in front of screens and try to limit that as much as possible. Ensure you have good
posture when you are using a mobile device, not unnecessarily craning your neck or bending
your back. Take breaks during extended periods of study to rest your brain and re-charge your
mind. Do not sacrifice your sleep schedule.
If you are a stay-at-home parent, be mindful of the habits you form as well. Do you give your
brain and body moments to re-charge throughout the day, away from people and overwhelming
stimuli? Are you staying hydrating, exercising, and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule? Are
there loud noises or peculiar smells around your house that you could possibly
Sensory stimulation is a frustrating and difficult challenge to overcome. It may take many trial
and error sessions to understand what senses may be triggering your headaches. Here at Novera
we are dedicated to helping you find a solution, so come in to our office today or call us to chat
about your headaches. We will find a treatment together.