Headache after Studying – Symptoms, Causes, and Management

Headache after studying is an important concern for students of all ages. This not only affects the everyday life of a student but also imparts major effects on the overall productivity and the engagement of students in extra-curricular activities, thus it needs to be addressed. The most common type of headache experienced by students is a tension-type headache. The headache equally affects both sides of the head and may also include muscles of the neck and shoulders.

Symptoms of post-study headache

Tension headache resulting from pounding head with books may present with the following symptoms:

  • Eye strain (asthenopia)
  • Tension in neck, back or scalp muscles
  • Throbbing pain across the head
  • Facing difficulty of double vision
  • Rigid neck and upper back pain.

Some uncommon symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Increased sensitivity to sound.

Causes of post-study headache

  • Mental exhaustion due to prolonged stress.
  • Awkward sitting posture that causes tension in shoulders, neck, and upper back.
  • Studying in very dim light weakens the eye muscles due to their overworking which may lead to eye strain headaches.
  • Dehydration causes the brain to pull away from the skull which puts pressure on nerves that may cause headaches.
  • High stress of getting good grades results in the release of certain chemicals in the body that may lead to a headache. 
  • Lack of caffeine causes enlargement of blood vessels which increases blood flow and pressure on nerves that may cause headaches.
  • Diseases related to sleep like insomnia and sleep apnea can also cause headaches.

What may trigger a headache after studying?

Headache after studying, which may be occasional in some people may get triggered by:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Prolonged study hours without breaks
  • Unfavorable atmosphere to study
  • Reading books on digital devices
  • Diseases like migraine can provoke headaches after studying.

Management of post-study headache


Headache after studying is mostly tension-type headache (TTH) and is associated with symptoms like dumbness, dizziness, and sometimes double vision. However, in some cases, it may be due to some sleep-related disease or some nerve disorder.


  • Take some analgesics like aspirin or Tylenol
  • Take anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants
  • Inhale pure oxygen doses
  • Muscle stretches and yoga are recommended.

How to avoid getting headaches when studying?

  • Take intervals of a break while studying
  • Sit in a right sitting posture
  • Keep yourself hydrated while studying
  • Keep yourself relaxed and do not take too much tension
  • Take rest after studying
  • Miss school work for some time until you feel better.

Home remedies

  • Take a hot shower
  • Take a gentle massage
  • Drink adequate water
  • Take adequate sleep and do not force yourself
  • Put ice packs on your neck to relax muscles.

When to consult a doctor?

A post-study headache ranging in intensity from mild to severe usually persists for a few hours to days depending upon stress and other factors. It gradually fades away on its own. However, you may need to see your chiropractor if:

  • Headache continues even after taking medications
  • Headache becomes severer after a few hours
  • Headache is associated with fever (pyrexia)
  • Significant memory loss is present
  • Difficulty in maintaining balance is experienced.


Why my head hurts when concentrating?

Studying requires a person to focus with maximum concentration. Focusing too long on eye muscles may fatigue them resulting in eye strain headache which is a manifestation of tension headache.

Should I study if I have headache?

If you have a headache, let the pain heal and go away. Relax yourself and then start studying or reading.

Why do I get headache as soon as I start studying?

It is because of stress or tension that you take about the studies that create tension in back and neck muscles that paves the way to headaches. If you have blurred vision accompanying that, see your doctor for an eye visit.

What should I do if I have headache on exam night?

Focusing too long on the core of your subject may result in headaches. Take breaks at equal intervals, keep yourself hydrated, keep yourself relaxed and sit on a comfortable chair.

Last medically reviewed on October 15, 2022.