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Headaches from Math.

  1. Oct 16, 2007 #1
    I am a sophomore computer engineering student and am taking

    calc 2
    Linear Algebra
    Physics 2

    Suddenly this semester, whenever I do math, I get a headache, and only during math, or doing math for physics, any ideas?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2007 #2
    Are you seriously asking for medical advice here?

    Assuming not, it just sounds like you're stressed, plus maybe a tad of overload or burnout for flavor. This is normal during your sophomore year in math/science/technical fields.
  4. Oct 16, 2007 #3
    This might not be it, but do you wear glasses? Possibly with math if you are really staring at the numbers or equations, etc, possibly its eye strain?
  5. Oct 16, 2007 #4
    Honestly all those courses require math, so really it seems you just get headaches when you do work.

    Could be eye strain.

    First thing I would do in general is look at how much sleep you're getting. Too much is just as bad as not enough. The important thing is consistency. Most people suggest 8 hours as ideal, some can go with less.

    Also, water. Most people do not drink nearly enough and dehydration causes headaches as well.

    Also, did you just ask for medical advice on physicsforums.com? xD
  6. Oct 16, 2007 #5
    Do you notice any kind of sharp increase in the amount of work you get this semester compared with before? Have your classes always been math heavy or did you only start getting so much math in all of your classes this year?

    Maybe you should track down one of your uni's health profs and ask for some advice.
  7. Oct 16, 2007 #6


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    I notice that I get headaches when I read through my glasses. If you are near sited and wear glasses to see distances, you may want to try reading without them if you usually read with them. Also, you should remember to give your eyes a break every now and then whenever you read or use a computer. Go look out a window, at something less intense and not as close to you face. That usually helps me.
  8. Oct 16, 2007 #7
    I am near sited and don't wear glasses when i read. They actually make the text more blurry. I only use them for class and long distances.

    could be eye strain, don't know, drink enough water and get a good amount of sleep.
  9. Oct 16, 2007 #8


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    The best person for giving you medical advice is your doctor.
  10. Oct 16, 2007 #9
    Its a little known fact that physics kills. It usually takes years though: the first signs of distress typically occure during "tenure". Once through this life changing stage, the subject slows down until they hit the next phase. Retirement.

    In all seriousness, I thought I would mention that I too am near sighted and suffer from headaches occasionally. I've also linked them to reading etc, aka eye strain. GO1's advice is spot on, but I thought I would add this little bit. When I get a headache, I find taking my glasses off helps if I had them on, or vice versa. This works for me because my perscription is weak: I can read with my glasses on or off, I can even legally drive without them (well, I could until the eye doctor gave the DMV a call, even though I had passed *their* test).

    Also, I've found sleep does wonders for eye strain. Maybe you could try getting a little more sleep, or taking a small nap towards the middle of the day.

    That aside, you might take a look at the lighting in your room/study. Uniform lighting cuts down on eye strain.
  11. Oct 16, 2007 #10
    Do you study for more than two hour stretches without a break? That used to give me headaches. It was really just stress and feeling like I had to get the answer before I could take a break.

    These days I mostly go for a jog. And when I get back the headache is gone and often the solution comes quickly.

    Of course, you should tell your doc if you can't get this to stop.
  12. Oct 17, 2007 #11
    Also, mathematics gives you schizophrenia. Just watch any movie about it.
  13. Oct 17, 2007 #12
    Sometimes I study for 8-10 hour increments without break.
  14. Oct 17, 2007 #13
    LoL. Thats pretty outrageous... hard to tell if its serious or not. Headaches aside, how could you even concentrate for that long?
  15. Oct 17, 2007 #14
    I find smoking helps me study and concetrate.

    This is why it is better to ask a doctor for medical advice :).
  16. Oct 17, 2007 #15
    That's your problem. I actually developed a case of anxiety (trouble breathing) since my junior year started (I'm an EE). All this work is overwhelming, but you need to take it slow.

    You need breaks. Sometimes I don't take breaks, but I know I should. Go out of your dorm room/libary and relax. Close your eyes and just meditate... it works, no matter how "lame" that sounds. It helps me recap the information and soothe my mind.

    Also try power napping - take a 20 min max, no more no less. It work wonders, it will keep you revitalized during mid-day and will help you concentrate better afterwards. I'm sure others can attest to this. 3 hour naps don't count.
  17. Oct 23, 2007 #16
    I can associate with your problem. I have headaches when I do intensive pure maths and can seem to only concentrate in the morning (Is that why Hardy only did 4 hours of maths in the mornings and none in the afternoon?). However can do physics all day.

    However the headache may go over after you are more used to doing that level of maths. It's like building muscles. At the start you ache all over but it really is good for you? because next time you will have better muscle and can keep up the strengeous activity longer.
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