How often have we heard the statement “my head hurts”? For many of us who go week by week with a headache, taking it for granted becomes a normal occurrence because most of the time the pain goes away and we think nothing of it; but then, here it comes again. What the heck is it? Why are these headaches starting? And why are they so frequent?
These are good questions that some of us don’t ask and if we do, we don’t get an answer. Well, the outcome could be deadly and could be a predecessor to something big that is headed your way. So, we must take a headache serious and give it some thought on what we want to do about it.
There are several reasons why headaches develop, such as over-active activity, age, dehydration, disease, trauma, visual issues, stress, and hunger. There is quite a bit more but these are the well-knowns that most people complain of when he or she go to see a doctor or call 911. Let us discuss the first one, over-active activity.
Over-active activity goes hand in hand with dehydration and hunger. Our body’s function on a set of electrolytes, i.e. sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. These electrolytes are called nutrients or chemicals that allow certain areas of our body to function, i.e. heart and muscles. Over-active activity can cause us to lose some of these nutrients. When this occurs, our body responds by increasing our heart rate, breathing,causing our kidneys to work on overdrive by producing dark yellow urine, and causing our muscles to contract (Charlie horse or muscle cramps). We have to replace these nutrients by drinking water or drinks that replace our electrolytes, i.e. Gatorade. Well, some of us, mostly our younger generation, don’t recognize that they are losing electrolytes because they are enjoying the activity that has becomeover-active. Electrolytes are depleted through perspiration, urination, and respiration thus causing our body to respond. But, some of us don’t listen.
When the activity is over and nofluid replacement has taken place, this loss of nutrients sends a message to our brain. If the message could be audible and we heard it, it would simply say, “you didn’t replace what was lost so I am going to make you pay by not only giving you muscle cramps and increasing your heart rate, I am going to make your head hurt.” Some scientistrefers to this type of pain as a dehydration headache.
A dehydration headache is simply a shrinkage of the brain away from the skull which prompts pain receptors to be stimulated. Remember from your basic anatomy and physiology, and chemistry class that 60 percent of your body is made of water. So, over-active activity without replacement of nutrients will cause a headache. Another reason your head hurts could be because of age.
Age goes hand in hand with disease and dehydration with or without over-active activity. The older you get, the more wear and tear your body goes through as muscles, bones, veins, arteries, and organs continue to battle the elements of time. In our younger days, time is our friend but with older age, time could be our enemy.
With age, we tend to depend on medication to control high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc. This medication and diseases may have a detrimental effect on our vessels where weakness and tearing of an artery can occur. When this happens, bleeding and swelling develop in our brain where pressure is exerted and pain occurs. This pain matures if nothing is done about it. Unfortunately, most people ignore the pain until it gets to the point where he or she will have cognitive or paralysis disorders.
Additionally, age goes hand in hand with trauma. Since some medication has blood thinning agents, a blow to the head, such as a fall, or a punch to the face can cause bleeding in the brain. This type of injury is referred to s cerebral hemorrhage. It is extremely dangerous and requires the activation of 911 and a visit to an emergency room with stroke capability.
Some symptoms of bleeding in the brain can be vague. Other symptoms present as a severe headache that could be in a specific part of your head or a global headache. Visual issues such as blurred or double vision can occur. Nausea and vomiting, weakness on one side of the body, gazing to one side, numbness to the face or extremity, unequal facial expression, drooling and unable to formulate words can occur.
Sometimes bleeding in the brain can present as pain that comes and goes. That is why it important to have it checked out by a doctor to determine of a life-threatening issue exist. If you are unable to make it to the hospital or to make an appointment to see your doctor, you can always depend on 911. Paramedics are highly trained and have skills to recognize a life-threatening issue to your brain. They can get you to the most appropriate hospital without delay, and treat you on the way.
Visual issues and stress have much to do with a headache as well. If you wear glasses and don’t use them, or you may need glasses, the effort to see can cause a headache to occur. Therefore, a simple fix would be to see an eye doctor. On the other hand, stress can cause a headache to develop and get worse over time; especially when the stress is not relieved or goes untreated. If a person already has weak vessels in his or her brain, stress could cause bleeding because the bloodpressurerise to the point of high hose pressure and then a small leak or a big rupture occurs.
Ultimately, the most appropriate method to handling the pain in your head is to see a doctor. But for those who don’t, you are taking a chance with your life. Don’t do it! See a doctor without delay. For a stroke, you have less than 3 to 4 hour to get treatment; especially if the stroke is from a block. However, if the stroke is a bleed, getting to a neurosurgeon in the fastest and safest mode (911) is the best method for both instances for a good prognosis. Regardless of why the pain in your head occurs, get help immediately.