Do You Keep Getting a Headache at Work?

Is work literally giving you a headache? There are lots of different possible work-related causes of a headache. This post delves into a few of the most likely causes.

Woman with a headache at work

Stress Headache at Work

When we’re stressed, our body releases a hormone called cortisol which causes all kinds of changes to happen around the body in preparation for ‘fight or flight’ mode. Changes in blood vessels in the brain help us to be more alert. However, when stressed for long periods, this change in blood vessels can cause tension headaches. 

There are lots of ways to relieve work-related stress such as taking time out to meditate, exercising or listening to music. If a job causes constant stress, you may want to take some time off (and consider whether the job is worth the stress). 


Not drinking enough water throughout the day can cause the brain to shrink from fluid loss. This leads to a dehydration headache. 

Make sure you’re regularly hydrating yourself throughout the day. Don’t just rely on coffee as this can make you pee more regularly, which in turn can dehydrate you.  


On the topic of coffee, caffeine itself can be a headache trigger – sometimes, causing serious migraines for certain people. Drinking too much coffee or energy drinks can lead to a caffeine overdose, which can cause symptoms such as headaches, nausea and shaking. 

Caffeine withdrawal can also cause headaches for some regular coffee drinkers – if you drink coffee at a certain time every day at work, you may find that skipping your coffee leads to a migraine. In this case, drinking coffee can even be the cure. 

It’s best to limit your caffeine consumption to avoid developing headaches caused by overdose or dependence. 

Poor posture

Poor posture could possibly be a headache trigger at work. Neck strain from craning or twisting the neck all day can often cause a headache. 

When working at a desk, try to sit up straight and make sure that the top of the monitor is directly in front of you at eye level. It could also be worth considering your posture while driving or operating a supermarket checkout. You may be able to reduce neck pain caused by poor posture by seeing a chiropractor or physical therapist. Treatment solutions like acupuncture can also help some people. 

Eye strain

Staring at a bright computer screen for long periods can lead to eye strain. Exposure to blue light can cause dry eyes and cause headaches. 

Taking regular breaks from looking at a screen can help to prevent eye strain. Another option could be to wear blue light blocking glasses while at work

Tension around head

Do you regularly wear your hair up in a bun or ponytail? Do you have to wear a tight fitting helmet or hairnet? Any tension around the head could also be causing you to get headaches. 

There may not always be an easy solution to these types of headaches. It may be possible to buy yourself a helmet or hair net that’s more comfortable. If you have to wear your hair up for work and you think it’s causing headaches, make sure that you’re letting your hair down at the end of the day.

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