5 Sneaky — And Rough — Side-Effects Of A Terrible Headache

What’s behind the jackhammer inside your skull


By Karomaza |

Yep, the good old pounder’s as common as water, but it’s still a bit of a medical mystery. The latest science suggests it’s not the usual suspects like tense muscles, but brain chemistry gone wild. Mild to moderate pain on both sides = tension headache. Searing and one-sided = potential migraine. Here’s how it hits your…

Brain

An area of the brain stem called the “migraine generator” switches on the nerve responsible for face sensation. Though it feels like your brain is being stabbed with an ice pick, the organ can’t actually feel pain. It’s your meninges, a thin sheath around your brain, that’s on fire.

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GI Tract

Your digestive system also takes a hit. Whatever you swallow now – including painkillers – could sit undigested in your stomach, prompting nausea or

vomiting. On the (equally unpleasant) flip side, anything already in your tract might morph into diarrhoea. Nice.

Senses

What is that?! Your brain is now processing normal stimuli as threats. A hug: ouch. Sunlight: intense. A coworker’s perfume: unbearable.

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Cognition

Save the Sudoku. Your brain is too busy fending off faux attackers to think straight, for now.

Hormones

The pain has prompted an adrenaline surge, which can lead to hot-mess territory: rapid heartbeat, dilated pupils, sweating and a cortisol spike. The point being, in the short term, the hormones can have anti-pain properties.

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Treat Yo’Self

The best ways to nix a headache?

1. Down a glass or two of water.

2. Do several minutes deep breathing, filling the abdomen.

3. Distract yourself with a walk or movie.

4. See your GP if you have constant pounders.

Watch ON: Headaches Health Health Advice Health Conditions Hormones Irritable Bowel Syndrome Stomach Issues Stress