I’ve had a lot of things hurt, but I think the pain I hate the most is a headache. It’s nearly impossible to do anything when your head is pounding. Finding the cause is the first step to getting rid of the pain.
Allergies: Anything that causes the sinuses to swell or clog up is likely to cause a headache. Most of the time, it’s a dull pain, though not always. Other symptoms that indicate it is allergies might include itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose.
Most people can take over the counter allergy medicines for this type of problem, though if you have certain medical conditions or take some medications that might not be safe. You may also want to take an NSAID, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. These can reduce the swelling and ease the pain.
Eye Strain: If you read in poor light or stare at a computer screen a lot, you may develop an eye strain headache. These are usually right behind the eyes. Your eyes may also feel dry.
There are two things you need to do when dealing with this sort of headache. First, stop using your eyes. They need a break. Second, go to your eye doctor; you may need glasses to protect your vision. This is particularly true if you use a computer a lot.
Hair: If you’ve never had long hair, you’ve probably never had a hair headache. However, those of us with longer locks can. Most of the time it’s caused by having it pulled back too tightly. Loosen your hair and the headache should go away.
Hangover: The perfect cure for a hangover headache is to not drink that much in the first place. That said, it’s very easy to over imbibe and wind up with a killer headache the next morning.
There are several causes to this type of headache. One is a crash in blood sugar. Alcohol has a reputation of raising sugar levels, then dropping them through the floor. A second problem comes with the “additives” in many beverages. Sulfites, tannins and so on can cause an allergic reaction, creating severe head pain.
The most common problem, and by far the easiest to resolve, is severe dehydration. If you’ve ever had a lot to drink, you may have noticed that you had to visit the restroom on a regular basis. Your body is trying to get rid of the excess sugar. Drinking a lot of water can help reverse the dehydration and get rid of the headache.
One note of caution. You can’t take a pain reliever before drinking and have it still be in your body the next morning. That’s a myth and mixing some pain relievers with alcohol could kill you.
Heat Sickness: One major symptom of both heat exhaustion and heat stroke is a headache. The pain can be intense. There are other symptoms of these problems. For heat exhaustion you’ll see a red face, profuse sweating and some disorientation. If it reaches heat stroke there will be no perspiration and the skin could become cold and clammy.
This is not a time for home remedies. Anyone with these symptoms needs immediate medical attention. Unless you live next door to the hospital, do not try to drive the person their yourself, call 911. The paramedics can begin treatment even before the patient gets to the emergency room.
Migraines: This is something that is hard to explain if you’ve never had one. The pain is intense, there is usually some light/sound sensitivity and it can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The pain is often on one side of the head. While you can try feverfew for migraines, many people need something stronger. Talk to your doctor if you suspect you are dealing with migraines and work out a treatment program with him or her.
Tension: If you’re stressed out, you may notice a tendency to tighten the muscles in your shoulders and neck. This tension can translate to a serious headache. Relieving the tension…and the stress, if possible…can go a long way towards making it feel better.
Viruses: The flu and other viruses can be accompanied by a headache. If it’s the flu, try to get to the doctor within the first forty-eight hours. Medications can be given that will make the illness less intense and allow you to get well faster.
There are a lot of causes for headaches. Most of them are fairly benign, but you can see that some aren’t. If you have a headache that doesn’t fit any of these descriptions, you may want to talk to your doctor. There are other problems, some life threatening, that could cause you head pain.