Why, when we cry, do you have a headache?


Why, when we cry, do you have a headache?

They say crying is useful. But what to do if after that the head splits, and why is this happening?

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Why do we cry

When we are experiencing, a cascade of physiological reactions is triggered - the body comes under stress. At the same time, heartbeat and breathing increase, the concentration of attention increases, muscle tone increases - the body does everything to quickly and effectively respond to an extraordinary event. This is possible thanks to the work of the main stress hormone - cortisol, which is secreted by the adrenal glands in response to alarming signals from the brain.

Cortisol controls molecules - signal transmitters in the brain - neurotransmitters. These molecules trigger or inhibit physiological reactions: including the production of tears running down the cheeks. One of these neurotransmitters - acetylcholine - regulates the secretion of most of the glands in the body: it controls the salivary, sweat and digestive glands. It also stimulates the production of tears in the lacrimal glands, which are located under the eyebrow in the outer corners of the eyes.

In fact, stress and tears are the defence mechanisms of our body.

Tears can be of three types:

1.  Basal tears: are produced continuously and moisturize the eyeball, washing out small debris.

2.  Reflex tears: act as a protective mechanism when irritated in the eye area.

3.  Emotional tears: run from an excess of feelings (both positive and negative).

All three species are somewhat different in composition, but no matter what provokes the process, it passes the same way: the lacrimal gland produces a tear, it hits the eyes through the tear duct and washes them when blinking. Then, through the other tubules in the inner corners of the eyes, tears flow into the nasal cavity. At this point, the mucous membrane of the nasal cavity is actively supplying blood and developing oedema, which is felt as congestion in the nose.

How and why because of crying headache

The connection between sobbing and the appearance of a headache is rather complicated: experts suggest several theories of its development. It all depends on the type of headache.

Tension headaches

As a rule, tears associated with emotional experience, cause tension headaches - the most frequent of all variants of headaches. Such begin at the end of a hard working day. Despite the prevalence, the exact causes of its development are still unknown; most likely, this is an increased sensitivity to pain stimuli.

Such pain is usually bilateral as if the grip of moderate force is monotonously pressing in the frontal or occipital region of the head. It is not accompanied by nausea or discomfort from the light, which distinguishes it from another type of headache - migraine.


Stress, which is often accompanied by crying, is one of the main triggers for triggering a migraine attack. In people predisposed to its development, the brain is particularly sensitive to the level of neurotransmitters and other substances: when this balance is disturbed, a painful attack starts. This is usually one-sided, throbbing pain, which is difficult to endure. Attacks are accompanied by unpleasant sensations: nausea or vomiting, hypersensitivity to light or sounds.

The trigger, by the way, can be both stress and relaxation afterwards. It is important to understand that any migraine-causing factor is just a provocateur, not a cause. Migraine is considered a genetically determined disease, in the development of which violations in several genes are to blame.

The remaining headaches - the so-called secondary - develop on the background of any condition.

Pain due to impaired patency of the sinuses

Prolonged crying can affect the work of the sinuses or sinuses - the air-cavities, which are located in the front of the skull and communicate with each other. Since at the moment of the flow of tears, swelling of the nasal mucosa develops and rhinorrhea begins - the secretion we secretly call snot is secreted - the air permeability in the cavities is disturbed. There is a feeling of congestion, which can turn into a dull pain in the cheeks and forehead.

Pain due to muscle spasms

This variant of pain is associated with overstrain of the muscles of the upper shoulder girdle: when we cry, the muscles of the neck, forehead and neck are tense. If we cry for a long time and with feeling, the tension may persist, even when we have already calmed down, and lead to a headache.

How to relieve a headache after tears

First, you need to rest. The prospect of spending the whole day in bed, suffering from pain, is not too attractive, so it is worth speeding up the recovery.

You can start with cold or warm compresses that are comfortable for you. Put them on the back of the head, in the neck or on the forehead: they can work as a red herring for the nerve endings, due to this they will cease to constantly transmit signals about pain impulses. Another good way to calm down is to take a hot or cold shower, as you like.

When nasal congestion is washed with saline solutions to get rid of snot. You can drip vasoconstrictor drops into your nose: they will remove the swelling and restore free breathing.

If you feel the tension in the muscles of the neck or upper back, an excellent treatment will be a massage from an experienced specialist. Massage will relieve tension and muscle spasm, normalizes blood flow, and then the pain will go away. Try self-massage: pound the muscles in the shoulder area and at the base of the neck.

Various manual therapies may be useful for relieving headaches: for example, acupuncture. If you do not want to cry, go to a session of alternative medicine, you can act on the trigger point He Gu or LI4: it is located in the pad between the index finger and thumb. This active point is a cluster of nerve endings, by massaging that with rotational movements, you can relieve a headache.

If rest and the above techniques have not brought relief, take simple non-prescription drugs (such as ibuprofen, paracetamol, aspirin). But do not abuse the painkillers - it can cause a drug-induced headache.

Sometimes tears are just one of the headache provocateurs, which can be perceived as an alarming signal of the body. If seizures occur more than once a week, consult a neurologist.

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