General Health

Why Do You Get A Headache When You Cry – Reasons & Cure

Life is a journey of ups and downs. Some days you are happily enjoying, while at times, you want to cry your heart out under the pillow. Crying is a response to emotions that people witness in daily life – watching a sad moving, losing a loved one, or experiencing instability in life. These emotions are mentally and physically draining, which can trigger the pressure on the brain, resulting in crying. Besides, if the emotions are intense, it can lead to physical symptoms like headaches.

Are you wondering why do you get a headache when you cry? The emotional buildup in your brain results in physical pain. Stress and anxiety also alter your brain, paving the way for headaches. Likewise, the water loss in the body due to overflowing tears results in dehydration, causing headaches. However, non-emotional or happiness tears don’t have the same effect.

If you are crying while cutting onions or when you are happy, it doesn’t provoke headaches. Only the tears related to negative emotions have this effect. Let us help you understand why this happens and how to overcome it.

Does Headache After Crying Happen Because of Stress?

When there is an accumulation of energy with feelings, crying becomes a way to release these emotions. It is a sign that you are feeling stressed or anxious. Surprisingly, there are significant levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol. Our system is flooding with these hormones at the time of emotional upheaval, going into a fight or flight response. If you respond to the emotional crisis by procrastinating or freaking out, your body releases huge cortisol levels.

As a result, you witness poor blood circulation across the internal organs, muscles, and cardiovascular systems. All the muscle tissues of the face and head are connected. If the emotional anguish contracts facial muscles, the brain automatically feels the pressure. Precisely, this is the reason why you get headaches when you cry.

In short, the human body goes on the ‘standby mode’ where all the pressure is simulated on the brain. Besides, headaches can happen because of dehydration and swollen eyes, but stress remains a significant factor.

Does It Affect Your Body?

Most people believe crying is therapeutic since it unloads the burden from your brain. Sometimes, the emotional drainage can be awful, making you feel vulnerable. On top of that, may experience a pounding headache, affecting your overall functioning. Here are some ways how headache from crying affect your whole body.

1.    Sinus Problems
Do you know eyes, nose, ears, and throat are all connected internally? When you start shedding tears from the eyes, they can cluster into the sinuses. Healthy sinuses are full of air, but tears fill it up with fluid, blocking the air. At the same time, tears also enter the nasal passage due to which people experience a runny nose. If the tears and mucus are built up inside the nose and sinuses, they can cause a lot of pressure, triggering sinus. It is an inflammation and swelling in the lining of tissues.

Some people also experience sinus headaches after crying but fail to acknowledge it. They consider it as an ordinary headache until they witness allergies. Look out for these symptoms to stay careful of these headaches.

  • Postnasal drip and discomfort in the throat
  • Stuffy nose due to the mucus buildup
  • Swelling and tenderness around the nose, jaw, and cheeks
  • Consistent discharge from the nose.

Although sinus headaches are quite rare, keep observing yourself to purge all the risks.

2.    Migraine Triggers
In some cases, crying can trigger migraines, especially to people who are predisposed to them. These are pounding headaches and only occur on one side of the head. It could be the lower back of the head, forehead, above, or below the ears. It happens because of the stress that the body releases while crying and occurs to people prone to migraines. However, if crying prolongs for days or months, it can trigger to people with no prior symptoms of migraine. In addition to pain, you might also experience,

  • Nausea – the consistent urge to vomit
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Mood Swings

3.    Swollen Eyes & Dehydration
Can crying make you sick and unhealthy? You will witness a runny nose as the mucus builds up quickly. Similarly, all the tears running down your cheeks create a shortage of fluids in your eyes. They are the most sensitive part of the body, and crying can result in swelling. It is harmless but can make the person feel uncomfortable and tired even after a day or two.

Moreover, dehydration is another reason for headaches. After crying a river and shedding lots of tears, there is an immediate loss of fluid from the body. The human brain is fluid-sensitive, meaning it shrinks due to the lack of fluids. Hence, this reduction in the volume of the brain causes headaches. After all, your body and brain need an adequate balance of electrolytes to work correctly.


Unfortunately, the effect of crying on your brain is devastating, and things can get worse if you keep ignoring the headaches. Therefore, explore treatments and remedies for curing headaches after crying.

  • Over the Counter Pain Relievers: Ibuprofen and Panadol can relieve a mild headache in a few hours. Otherwise, if your symptoms are moderate or severe, get a pain killer that combines aspirin with caffeine. It has a substantial curing power than other pain relievers.
  • Cardiovascular Drugs: These are popular for treating high blood pressure but can also prevent migraine headaches. It includes beta-blockers and varying calcium channel blockers.
  • Apply Ice or Heat Pack: Place it on your neck, forehead, and eyes to soothe the muscles. The heat pack improves blood circulation, easing headaches quickly.
  • Massage: Ask your sibling or friend to give a massage on the back, shoulders, and forehead. It alleviates tension, loosens up muscles, and helps your brain relax.
  • Triptans: It changes the blood flow in the brain and brings it down to the place suffering from inflammation. Hence, it is an incredible solution for migraine pain and sinus headaches. However, you have to seek permission from the doctor before taking these.
  • Take Rest: You can’t get back to normal in minutes after an emotional breakdown. Hence, give yourself some time to unwind and relax. Rest in a calm and dark room with eyes closed for an hour to clear your brain.

Headache after crying is a response to feelings and emotions that are causing anxiety. It might feel good to cry out the stress and anxiety, but the side-effects of crying are quite overwhelming. Your brain starts feeling heavy and painful due to multiple reasons. Thus, hydrate yourself after all the emotional drainage to ensure a sufficient supply of fluids to the brain. It can ease headaches, letting you put yourself back together.