Headache after Crying – Symptoms, Causes, and Management

Piled-up emotions may break a person into tears. This emotional stress may trigger a tension-type headache owing to excessive tension in the body. Headache after crying is normal. So next time you have a headache after crying, do not make that ache a headache.

How it feels like?

The unpleasant sensation of a headache after wiping away your tears might be disturbing. Tension headache after crying is accompanied by the following symptoms: 

  • Sense of pressure and pain over forehead
  • Feeling of oppression in surrounding of eyes and around cheeks
  • Stooping causes intensive pain
  • Heavy-eyed and lethargic feeling
  • Palpitations across the forehead
  • Tension in the face, neck, and skull muscles.

People suffering from migraine may also have symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to sound, smell, or light, after crying.

Causes of headache after crying

  • Buildup of pressure in sinuses due to mixing up of tears and mucus, causes a headache
  • Crying because of intense conditions and stress can open the way to headache
  • Continuous contractions of facial muscles from prolonged crying causes a headache
  • If you are pregnant, then you may suffer from headache after crying in early stages of pregnancy
  • Crying because of physical and emotional stress may cause headache
  • Crying may also provoke migraines.

What may trigger a headache from crying?

Elements with potential to aggravate headache after crying are:

  • Crying for a long period of time
  • Infection in sinuses can tick off headache
  • Crying in anger causes a tight band sensation around the forehead which triggers headache
  • If one is living in unfavorable atmospheric conditions like high temperature, high humidity level, etc., this may induce a headache.
  • If one is suffering from migraines, shedding tears may persuade migraine headache.

Management of headache after crying


Headache after crying is a common finding. It depends upon various factors and causes. It may be induced due to a disease or a mere consequence of muscle tension.


  • Relax your head and neck muscles by taking a benign massage or doing stretch exercises to relieve stress
  • Take OTC pain killers e.g. paracetamol
  • Use anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants to deal with hyperactivity of brain and muscle tension respectively
  • Relieve congestion in the sinus by nasal irrigation device to ease the pressure in sinus
  • Keep the blood pressure at a normal level and take drugs (diuretics) in case of high blood pressure.


  • Use acetaminophen and take rest for a while until swelling vanishes in your eyes, nose, and lips
  • Try to maintain your blood pressure figures within normal range
  • Take adequate sleep to relax your mind
  • Try to find out happiness and forget about all tensions
  • Take a cup of tea or coffee to alleviate headache.

Home remedies

  • Take a hot shower to relax and release tension in muscles
  • Put a pack of ice or warm water pack on stressed muscles to relax them
  • Take a healthy diet with all nutrients up to the mark
  • Keep the light brightness at a level that do not irritate the eyes.
  • Limit the level of sodium in your diet to less than 2300mg/day.

When to consult a doctor?

Usually headache after crying lasts for a few minutes or up to a day, but you should see your doctor if it lasts longer than this with the following conditions:

  • If your headache compels you to take medication up to two times a week
  • Have a history of previous episodes of headache
  • If your headache is a disruption to your daily life activities and sleep
  • If you are unable to identify the provoking agents
  • If the headaches become more painful and severer with episodes lasting longer.


How do you fix a headache from crying?

You can take simple painkillers, a gentle massage and plenty of sleep.

Why do I feel sick after crying?

The propagation of cortisol-like hormones by emotional intensiveness may cause problems like headache and a runny nose.

Why do I feel dizzy after crying?

While crying, our body uses more oxygen, that’s why we feel dizzy after crying.

How long do headaches last after crying?

In kids, mild headache could be felt for few minutes or up to a day. Adults may experience headaches for a similar duration.

Last medically reviewed on October 14, 2022.