What causes headaches in a car? Some kids get headaches in a car watching TV or using tablets. The new car smell could start a headache, which does seem unfortunate if you’re lucky to be driving a new car.
Flickering lights may cause migraines – these are generally found when driving late in the afternoon or at night. A similar night-time concern is eyestrain. But driving in the bright sunny hours could also cause a headache, more specifically driving towards the sun’s glare which can be prevented by sunglasses. The beeping of horns and the rush of trucks doesn’t help either.
Even worse, a specific type of migraine – hemiplegic migraine – causes a migraine on one side of the face. It is actually forbidden to drive or use machinery if you are prone to hemiplegic migraine.
Tinnitus, an ear-ringing sound, may affect your ability to drive.
Changing altitudes could also trigger a migraine.
Nausea and vomiting are associated with headaches and can be dangerous for drivers behind the wheel. Your vision may also be affected leading to blurred vision, seeing spots or not being able to see objects at the side of your vision which you normally would.
A little-known fact is that the posture of how you sit when driving can also cause headaches, such as not having your shoulders pulled back. This can put pressure at the top of the spine. A “posterior headache” or a headache at the back of the brain is common among truck drivers as the seat and inflexible kind, so it is better to adjust it for your height and make it as comfortable as possible. Having stretches at the usual rest stops can help prevent this condition.
A tension headache is specific to people who drive for long periods, especially on a cold day. It’s a dull head pain, different from a migraine. It’s not unusual to get facial pain.
Plan Ahead to Avoid Headaches
To reduce the chance of a migraine you should find time to plan ahead, know where you are going. To keep the pressure down, stick all your travel details together such as maps, booking info and so on. Eat well, no processed food, find a good source of protein, fat and fiber. Hunger means a decrease in blood sugar levels. There may be obstacles doing this at usual rest stops. Watch out for time zone differences too.
As well as food it’s a good idea to have a bottle of water handy as it can prevent being dehydrated and this can lead to a migraine. Bad drivers tend to clench their teeth or grind their teeth while in tough driving situations. But this tends to cause tension in the face and then headache.
Don’t overdo it, when not driving it’s best to take a break, especially if it’s a long journey.
If you do feel a migraine or headache coming on, pull off the road. If the migraine continues for some time – and unfortunately some of the worst headaches can continue for 3 days – get a friend to pick you up if it’s at all possible.
It’s always the best route to remain safe on the road.