I've been battling chronic migraines and other assorted types of headaches (there are a SHOCKING number of types of headaches) for years now. They're genetic in my case - women from my father's side of the family seem to get migraines that just won't quit.
I've actually grown so accustomed to the headaches that I feel sort of weird when I don't have one!
In my travels through the nebulous world of diagnosis to treatment, I've learned a lot more about that pounding ache than I learned in nursing school. There are some downright surprising reasons for headaches.
1) Depression - we all know that depression hurts. That commercial will be forever etched into my memory (whether or not I want it there). Oddly, though, one of the things we seldom think of is that depression is a systemic disease, which means it can cause headaches.
2) Pain from other areas of the body - in medicine, we call that "refracted" pain, and a whole ton of conditions can cause it. Anything from a toothache or an earache to arthritis and pinched nerves can travel upward and cause a nasty headache.
3) The flu - while the flu is a disease of the respiratory system, often before one begins to experience coughing and the all-over body aches, a headache can be the warning sign that the flu is coming!
4) Medication - while it sounds totally baffling, a lot of medications can interact with one another to produce a very common symptom: headaches. Ask your doctor to do a check of all your meds - including vitamins and supplements, to see if they can interact with one another to produce your symptoms.
5) Dehydration - one of the biggest things that doctors tell people who have chronic headaches is to drink a little caffeine. And besides, keeping up with a busy life means that your morning coffee is your savior. Caffeine, however, is a diuretic, which means that if you pour too much coffee down your gullet (especially before or after exercising), you can become dehydrated pretty quickly. So pump up the water!
Do you suffer from headaches? How do you cope with your headaches?
Image via Italian Voice/Flickr