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31 Jul 2007

Headache caused by yawning
Dear Doctor,
I have just read an article about yawning. Well, I have been yawning since I started reading it. I can't stop. And now I have a terrible headache. So I decided to write you, because I always get a headache when I yawn for a some minutes, but I had never asked anyone why. I also read that too much yawning may suggest a heart problem, which I know I have. But could the heart problem and the headache be related? Is this headache normal? Should I see a doctor?

Thank you!
Answer 6,746 views
Headache expert
headache expert

01 Jan 0001

Dear A Girl,

Yawning is sometimes a sign that one is going to get a headache – so it is probably not the yawning that causes the headache, but the developing headache which causes the yawning. The pain usually starts when the yawning stops.

Certain heart problems may well be related to headaches. The main one is called Patent Foramen Ovale – there is a hole between the left and right side of the heart. When the hole is closed, the headache sometimes improves. But this is not common, and it is most likely that the headaches are being caused by something else.

To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary assessment”. There are so many different structures in the head and neck, all of which can be involved in the headache process, that no single specialist can have all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For instance, a neurologist will examine the brain and nervous system, a physiotherapist will look at the muscles, a dentist will examine the teeth etc. For this reason, the “multidisciplinary assessment” combines and integrates the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This assessment must include a thorough examination of the head and neck muscles to determine the presence of abnormal tension. This enables the different members of the team to provide a co-ordinated treatment plan, so that all the contributing factors are addressed.

Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the constant pain and associated symptoms. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic (Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg) on 0861 678 911.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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