If You Think Mercury Retrograde Is Messing With Your Health, This Is What’s Actually Happening

Ashley Batz / Bustle

2017 has been a wild ride. And in true “what the heck is going on?” fashion, 2017 is exiting stage left with a bang. That’s right, Mercury will remain in retrograde through Dec. 22. Mercury retrograde simply means that Mercury is rotating faster than Earth (and thus, looks like it's going "backwards" in its orbit from our perspective), but this optical illusion is often blamed for all sorts of cosmic confusion for us poor Earthlings.

According to astrologers, Mercury retrograde has been said to cause a bunch of trouble when it comes to communication issues and technological headaches. But some people are wondering if Mercury retrograde can cause physical headaches, too. The short answer is, well, no. You may have noticed an uptick in the amount of headaches you’ve experienced since Mercury retrograde began on Dec. 3, but Mercury retrograde isn’t to blame — at least not directly. No matter how frustrating your technological issues are during this time, Mercury retrograde definitely cannot cause your headaches. However, the stress from having your computer crash right before your finals — one common reported Mercury Retrograde symptom — very well could. There are also a number of potential headache causes related to the time of year, or other, more general factors that could account for an increase in headaches. Once you identify what’s really causing your head to throb, you can take steps to avoid or counter it.


Changes In Barometric Pressure

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? The barometric pressure often lowers on a rainy or snowy day, which can cause headaches for many people. If lying down for a nap is not an option, try an over the counter medication like Tylenol or Excedrin.



Although the holidays are fun, it can be a stressful time. Factor in finals or work deadlines, on top of communication issues reportedly stemming from Mercury retrograde, and you have a headache waiting to happen. Stress can cause your head to hurt, and having a headache when you need to get work done can stress you out even more. It can be a seemingly never-ending cycle. Identifying what is stressing you out is key in avoiding that particular stressor. Relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation can also relieve your stress headache.


Changes In Your Sleeping Pattern

Lack of sleep or drastic changes in your sleeping pattern can trigger headaches, but did you know too much sleep can cause headaches, too? A lot of folks use the extra time off during the holidays to take more naps or catch up on sleep missed during the regular week. Be careful though —Snoozing more often than usual can bring upon a tension headache. To avoid sleep-induced headaches, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day — and yes, even weekends.


Poor Posture

Have you noticed you always have a headache after leaving work? It may not be your boss’ fault (at least, not completely). For lots of people, working means sitting for long stretches of time, and if your sitting posture is poor, your neck and head could be suffering. Putting too much pressure on the neck and head can cause headaches, as can eye strain from staring at a computer all day. A posture correcting band can help you sit up straight, and making sure your glasses are the right prescription, as well as taking regular computer breaks, can help mitigate eye strain headaches.


Processed Meats

Does your family indulge in a lot of processed meats around the holidays, like salami, prosciutto, or even hot dogs? Many processed meats contain nitrates, which can cause headaches in some people by dilating their blood cells. It’s recommended to keep a food diary if you suspect processed meats or any other food product are making you feel bad. If you notice a pattern of eating processed meat, then getting a headache, it might be time to give up the charcuterie plate.



Curling up with a bottle of wine during the cold months can be relaxing, but be on the lookout for how your head feels after a couple of glasses. Many red wines contain sulfites, a type of preservative, and sulfites are known to be linked to headaches. All the holiday party drinking may be causing your constant headaches, so be mindful about how much alcohol you’re consuming. If you notice a pattern between drinking and headaches, swap your alcoholic beverage for an alcohol-free substitute.



Our bodies are around 60 percent water, so it only makes sense that your head starts to hurt when you’re dehydrated. Getting a head start on your New Year's resolution by hitting the gym? It’s important to replenish your body with water after exercising and urinating. When you’re dehydrated, your brain actually shrinks. Plump your brain back up to normal size with a glass of water, and your headache will subside in no time.

Mercury retrograde is the cause of many technological headaches, but your actual headache is 100 percent being caused by something else. Fix the underlying issue so you can end 2017 on a good, healthy note.