Five Causes of Headaches at Work


Sadly, it’s the end of the festive period. The end of two consecutive short work weeks or for some two weeks of unbridled joy courtesy of annual leaves. Work resumes tomorrow and you’ll have to wait for about a month before the Chinese New Year holidays kick in. A month?! After all that happiness of the last two weeks, the mere mention of a month of uninterrupted work causes headache to many and many more at work. What exactly are the causes of headaches at work?

1. Eyestrain

When you work in an office environment, the chances are you will be looking at your computer screen throughout the day with lunch hours being the only time you give your eyes a proper break. In order to see what’s on the screen the brain has to direct our eye muscles to constantly re-adjust its focus between its most comfortable focal distance and the front of the screen. This “struggle” between where our eyes want to focus and where they should be focused can lead to eyestrain and eye fatigue, which can eventually trigger a headache.

What you can do

Go walk around for 10-15 minutes. Look at anything else but the computer. Go to the toilet, pantry or anywhere. Basically, give your eyes a break whenever you feel you are working your eyes too hard. Just avoid walking around too much. It simply means you are not working.

2. Lighting

According to, computer-related headaches can also be triggered by working in a bright environment. The lighting in many office spaces include sun-filled windows, overhead fluorescent lights and desk lamps. In addition, you may not only be dealing with the glare from your computer but also the glare from every other computer in the room. This kind of excessive brightness or over-illumination can trigger several types of headaches including migraines.

What you can do

Adjust the brightness of your computer screen until it feels comfortable in your environment. Or if the room is too dim, draw the curtains. Make sure your colleagues are comfortable as well because annoying your colleagues could bring you stuffs worse than headaches.

3. Posture

If you are constantly hunched or sitting as if you’re sliding off your seat, your posture could be a trigger for your headache. There’s a reason why there is a field of study called ergonomics. Sit well, feel well. Simple.

What you can do

If the fault of your hunched position doesn’t lie with you but your faulty office chair, go pick an empty chair and switch it before a new hire fills the seat. For a more legit method, talk to your admin or facilities personnel.

4. Stress

Stress needs no introduction. Definitely one of the main causes of headaches when you are rushing against deadlines and have been clocking OTs and late nights. The lack of sleep further adds to the splitting headache you get at work.

What you can do

It’s a mental thing when it comes to stress. Remember you are human, not machines. Rest when you are tired and chillax.

5. You don’t want to be there

Enough said.

When I’m not at work, I’m into the arts, music and history. Football’s my other big love so if I’m not around museums and galleries, I’m probably on the field. If I still can’t be found, I’m having my me time.