Who Is at a Greater Risk of Headaches?

Who is at greater risk of headaches

Headaches are one of the most common types of pain that people experience. Unfortunately, certain groups of people are more prone to developing headaches than others. In this post, Dr. Ivan Stein of the Headache and TMJ Center of New Jersey breaks down who is at greater than normal risk of headaches.


Women are three times more likely than men to experience headaches — particularly migraines. This can largely be attributed to changes in hormone levels, such as those that occur during a woman’s period or while she is pregnant. Some women also experience frequent or serious headaches in the years leading up to menopause (known as perimenopause).

Obese Teenagers or Adults

Being overweight can make someone more prone to headaches. The exact reason why is not 100 percent clear, although experts think it could be because overweight people are more likely to eat a lot of processed foods, which contain headache triggers like sugar or caffeine. Or it could be because obese people are prone to poor sleep quality, which is another headache trigger. Nevertheless, it’s likely that obesity doesn’t cause headaches or migraines but is rather a risk factor (and a modifiable one at that).


The nicotine in tobacco changes the size of the blood vessels in the brain, which can lead to a headache. Smoke is also an allergen to some people and can cause allergy-related headaches. This is true not only for smokers but also for people that are exposed to a lot of secondhand smoke.

Those with a Family History of Migraines

Researchers have discovered that specific genes, passed on by family members, may play a part in whether someone is prone to migraine headaches. Studies show that as many as 90 percent of people that suffer from migraines have a family history of severe headaches.

Talk to Our Headache Specialist

If you experience frequent or severe headaches, you should speak to our headache specialist to determine the root cause. There could be genetic or environmental factors at play. Or, if we rule out hormones, a family history or lifestyle factors, we could discover that problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) are contributing to your headaches.

To book an appointment with Dr. Stein, please contact the Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey at (855) TMJ-DOCS or (855) 865-3627.