Why do I Have a Headache and What to Do?
Headache is rarely dangerous. Most often, It has a simple reason. Sometimes it is enough to drink any over-the-counter pain medication (acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, paracetamol) — and the discomfort will go away.
However, there are other options: when the pill is not enough or, conversely, it is easy to do without it.
When to call an ambulance
Sometimes a headache can be a sign of serious illness. For example, a slowly developing tumor or a rapid stroke.
Call a doctor immediately or call an ambulance if the pain is sudden and very strong, almost unbearable, and also if it is accompanied by one of the following symptoms:
- numbness or weakness of one side of the face or body;
- slurred speech;
- confused consciousness;
- sudden vision problems: you see everything in a fog or double in your eyes;
- nausea and vomiting;
- dizziness, loss of balance.
By taking pain medication, you will lubricate the symptoms and let the disease progress. The result may be irreparable.
If you do not observe suspicious signs and the matter is limited only to a headache, you can relax and look for the causes of discomfort in the list below.
Why headache appears and what to do in each case1. You develop farsightedness
In this case, a headache occurs when you try to focus on objects nearby: notebooks on your desktop, laptop screen, things being sorted out. Some people are born farsighted, but to many, this visual impairment comes after 40 years old. Therefore, headaches can occur at first glance completely unmotivated and suddenly.What to do?
First of all, get distracted, give your eyes a break. If it doesn’t help, drink pain medication.
When the headache passes, do a little test. If you are looking to squint at something close, visit an ophthalmologist. Hyperopia is successfully corrected by glasses or lenses.2. You did not get enough sleep or, conversely, slept
Sleep Norm for an Adult — 7–eight hours. If you sleep less or more, you risk waking up with a headache.What to do?
Take pain medication this time. For the future — try not to go beyond.3. You are too tense, but do not notice it
Many works at the computer for many hours in a row. Or they like to chat on the phone, holding the receiver to the ear with their shoulder. Or just nervous, angry, unknowingly clenching his jaw. Any of these situations can cause tension headaches.
It is not difficult to recognize it: the pain has a compressive character as if your bandage is too tight on your forehead. Often at the same time, you feel discomfort in the neck and shoulders, you want to straighten up, stretch yourself.What to do?
Sit up and stretch your legs. Walk around with your shoulders relaxed. Do some simple exercises: tilt your head forward, then back, sweep from shoulder to shoulder, repeat. If possible, take a warm shower or bath...
To quickly get rid of discomfort, drink aspirin or a drug based on ibuprofen or naproxen (naturally, strictly following the instructions).
If tension headaches haunt you all the time, look for ways to relax your neck and shoulder muscles and head muscles. Well-proven swimming, yoga, massages.4. Are you nervous or experiencing chronic stress?
Stress can also trigger tension headaches.What to do?
The recommendations are the same as in the paragraph above. It’s important not only to relieve stress but to unlock muscles.5. You went over with painkillers
Even relatively safe over-the-counter drugs — aspirin, ibuprofen, paracetamol — can cause headaches if you use them more than 15 days a month. Prescription drugs — e.g. opioid or caffeine-based — enough for 10 days.What to do?
See your doctor. If necessary, he will prescribe you other drugs or recommend how to cope with pain without drugs.6. You react to the weather
The abrupt change in atmospheric pressure (to either side), cooling, rising wind — all this can trigger a headache.What to do?
If possible, lie down and rest to allow the body to cope with environmental changes more easily. If not — take a painkiller. Well, of course, start fighting weather dependence.7. You are hungry
Lowering blood sugar can cause a headache. This condition is often experienced by those who forgot to eat on time, are on a strict diet or are too active in sports, limiting themselves in nutrition.What to do?
Eat or drink something that contains easily digestible carbohydrates: sweet tea, fruit juice, milk or cocoa, cookies, candy, a piece of bread. This will help to quickly increase the glucose level to normal and calm the headache.
Go to 5–6 small meals instead of the usual breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Always keep a healthy snack on hand like nuts or vegetables.8. You ate or drank too much sweet
Excess blood sugar provokes a headache as often as its lack. Glucose affects the level of hormones, in particular, adrenaline and norepinephrine. They, in turn, can drastically narrow the blood vessels in the brain and your head will hurt.What to do?
Take pain medication. Revise your attitude to sweets and limit your sugar intake.9. You have a hangover
Hangover — it is, in fact, poisoning the body with ethanol decay products. In addition, alcohol causes dehydration, and the brain becomes the first organ to suffer from it.
Well, the brain does not want to suffer alone, so get and sign: headache, dizziness, nausea and other hangover joys.What to do?
If it hurts completely unbearably, do not suffer — take a pill. But try to do without it, so as not to overload the already suffering liver. Drink water, take a sorbent, sleep, take a walk. In general, try different ways to get rid of a hangover.10. Did you miss your morning coffee
Coffee addiction — this is not a myth. Fortunately, caffeine does not affect our body as potently as other approved drugs like cigarettes or alcohol. However, the body still gets used to it. And sharply left without the usual dose, it can produce unpleasant symptoms: fatigue, irritability, lack of concentration and the same headache.What to do?
Banal advice: drink coffee. A dose is even one and a half to two times less than the usual. If you do not have coffee at the moment, brew green or black tea. Or eat a piece of dark chocolate.
For the future: if you want to fight caffeine addiction, do not do it right away. Reduce your usual coffee dose by about 25% per week. Then refusal of the drink will pass without unpleasant symptoms.11. You just had sex
True? And now you are experiencing dull or throbbing pain in the head and partially in the neck? This is most likely it — headache caused by sexual activity. As a rule, such discomfort disappears in a few minutes, but in some cases, it stretches for hours.What to do?
Most often, short headaches associated with sexual activity are not too pronounced and not dangerous. But if they bother you, consult your doctor.
And do not postpone the visit to the doctor if this type of pain occurs suddenly and for the first time.12. You have a cold
Cold can cause swelling and inflammation of the sinuses — cavities in the bones of the skull that communicate with the nose. This is not always dangerous. Often, mild edema quickly goes away by itself, and the symptoms are limited to a feeling of nasal congestion and a headache that becomes pressing when you tilt your head down.What to do?
If discomfort interferes with life and work, take over-the-counter pain medication. — the same ibuprofen. You need to contact a therapist only if you have a fever, after the end of the action of the medicine you feel worse and nasal congestion and pain increase.
Then, perhaps, we are talking about sinusitis, frontal sinusitis, or other inflammation of the sinuses, which will require the use of prescription drugs, up to antibiotics.13. You just ate ice cream or drank something cold
This kind of pain is called — ice cream headache. Doctors have not fully figured out the mechanism of the onset of pain caused by cold, but suggest that this is the case. When you bite an ice cream or drink an iced drink in big sips, the blood vessels in your mouth, nasopharynx, and esophagus narrow sharply. The spasm causes a headache attack.What to do?
Nothing. As a rule, the headache from ice cream decreases 5 minutes after the peak. If you are prone to migraines, discomfort may last a little longer, but it disappears when your body adjusts to a sharp temperature drop.14. You had a head injury
You may have been seen by a doctor. Or maybe they just bumped, survived several unpleasant minutes and safely forgot about it, deciding that the incident was left without consequences. Unfortunately, improving the condition after an injury does not always guarantee that the head does not suffer more seriously.
If you remember that you once hit your head, contact your therapist and tell him about the injury. The doctor will offer you studies, and according to the results, prescribe treatment. Until then, pain can be reduced by over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen.15. You have an ear infection
You can talk about it if a pressing or throbbing headache is accompanied by hearing loss, ringing or unpleasant sensations in the ears.What to do?
If, in addition to the symptoms listed above, there are no other manifestations of the disease, you can do nothing: most of these mild inflammations disappear in a week or two. In this case, any over-the-counter pain medication will cope with a headache.
If fever, severe pain in the ear and dizziness join the symptoms, be sure to consult a therapist so as not to miss otitis media.16. You ate one of the foods that can cause a headache
Trigger products include:
- aged cheese (parmesan, blue cheese), as well as feta and mozzarella;
- some fruits and berries: ripe bananas, citrus fruits, kiwi, pineapple, avocado, raspberries.
- nuts, primarily almonds, and peanuts;
- dried fruits: raisins, dried apricots, dates;
- pickled products: cucumbers, olives, cabbage;
- products with preservatives: sausage, bacon, ham, hot dogs;
In fact, the list of such products can be continued for a long time and it is possible to establish which one your head reacts to only by observation.What to do?
Tactically — take any over-the-counter pain medication if pain interferes. Strategically — start keeping a diary of observations. Write down what you ate before you got a headache. After several such entries, you are likely to be able to easily calculate your personal trigger product.17. You just practiced properly
Exercise stress — it’s also a headache provocateur. Especially often, unpleasant sensations make themselves felt after:
In most cases, training headaches are not dangerous. They pass within an hour or two. You can speed up the process by taking pain medication.