Getting a headache sucks. It's tough to get through your daily routine with that throbbing, distracting pain. Most of the time, we just groan, take some ibuprofen and wait for the jackhammers in our skulls to subside. But sometimes a headache isn't just a headache. It's a sign that your body has a problem. And the only thing that can fix that problem is MORE COWBELL! WOOOO! Sorry. I've got a headache and I'm feeling loopy.
Most headaches can be killed with pain relievers from your local drug store. But it might be more efficient to get to the source of the problem. That way, you can prevent future headaches before they start, like how Tom Cruise prevented future crimes from being committed in Minority Report. Here are nine things your headache could be telling you about your body.
1. You need to drink water
Headaches are often associated with dehydration. If you're been exercising too much, drinking nothing but Code Red Mountain Dew, and haven't stopped crying about Chris Pratt and Anna Farris broke up,, you may suffer from dehydration. In such cases, headaches often come hand in hand with muscle cramps and darker urine. Drink some H20.
2. You're having allergy or sinus problems
Allergies are typically associated with sneezing, a runny nose, and red, watery eyes. But according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, they can also cause serious headaches. For example, if you have hay fever or sinusitis, you may contract a bacterial infection, or your nasal may become blocked, causing some brain-pain.
3. You're under too much stress
We all know that stress causes headaches, but did you know there are different kinds? If you experience a single, tragic event - like losing your job as a ninja or finding out a loved one was killed by zombies - then the stress will cause episodic tension headaches. But if you experience long-term, unmanaged stress - like every day you're chased by zombies and have to fight them with your ninja moves - then you will experience chronic tension headaches. Both kinds are no fun, so you should take some time to relax.
4. There's something wrong with your spine
If you get a migraine from moving your head in a certain direction, you may have a cervicogenic headache. That means there's a problem with your spine or the cervical section of your neck. The Wu-Tang Clan warned you to "protect your neck," but you just didn't listen. Some of the symptoms could include nausea and light sensitivity, which definitely not good. You don't want to risk a back injury getting worse, so see a doctor.
5. You need sleep
Anyone who's pulled an all-nighter knows sleep deprivation can cause headaches. However, so can slight changes in your sleep patterns. If you get eight hours of sleep every night, and then suddenly you can get four, that's going to throw a wrench in system. And no matter how sugary energy drinks you guzzle, you're still going to crash.
6. You need to change your diet
When your blood sugar level dips too low, your brain doesn't get enough glucose, resulting in headaches. This condition is called hypoglycemia, and is caused by two factors: when you don't eat enough food, and when you eat so much sugary crap your body produces much insulin. Your body needs fuel to run, and that fuel can't just be candy. Change to healthier diet, and try eating several small meals throughout the day, rather than just one big one.
7. You need to see the eye doctor
If you spend all day working in front of a computer screen, that can strain your eyes, and potentially cause damage. If you find yourself getting headaches at the end of every work day, and notice yourself straining or squinting to read, that may be a cause for concern. Try blinking more, taking more breaks away from the screen, angling your monitor to reduce the glare, getting lenses for your glasses that combat strain, or just quit your office job and become a pig farmer. No computers there.
8. Your medication is causing problems
As you know, medications have a lot of side effects, typically listened in very small font and read at an auctioneer's pace in television commercials. If you started popping some prescription, and notice headaches becoming a regular thing, it's time to connect the dots. And not the fuzzy red dots popping up from the headache. The connection between your new migraine and your new medicine. (In particular, birth control, blood pressure medication and stimulants have been known to cause headaches.)
9. You drank too much
We've all drank too much and had a nasty hangover, swearing we'll never touch the devil's juice again. Then that same night, we go out and get wasted once again. Wine, whiskey, beer, vodka - any kind of alcohol guzzled in excess can cause nasty headaches the next day. And the more you drink, the worse the pain. The real culprit, though, is dehydration, so try to prevent that miserable aftermath by drinking water; ideally, a glass of water between every drink.
Well, now you know everything your headache could be telling you about your body. Oh, I guess it could also mean a spider crawled into your ear and laid eggs, and now a bunch of baby spiders are crawling around your brain. But that's nothing to worry about.