What is a Headache?
What in the world is a headache? They come in all different shapes and sizes. Some of them burn, while others are sharp. Some you feel behind your eyeballs, while others hurt at the back of your head. In types of headaches alone, you have migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches, rebound headaches, and thunderclap headaches just to name a few. The actual pain of each headache varies as well as it’s perceived location, so how do we define it?
First of all, your brain isn’t hurting. In fact, our brains can’t even feel pain, so headaches certainly can’t be coming from the brain. The pain from headaches actually comes from inflamed blood vessels that are communicating with your pain receptors.
So, we know that headaches are actually caused by blood vessel inflammation, but what about the cause?
There may be over 150 different “types” of headaches, but there are just about an infinite amount of things that can actually cause headaches. Stress, a toothache, congestion, dehydration, tumors, lack of caffeine, quitting smoking, smoking itself, drinking, not drinking, and so on and so forth. There are so many physiological triggers for headaches that narrowing down a cause of a specific headache may be impossible.
So, if headaches are inflamed blood vessels communicating with your pain receptors that are caused by tons of different physiological factors, what do we do about them?
What’s the first thing that most of think of when we think headache? An over-the-counter painkiller (ibuprofen or acetaminophen) to solve our woes. But, have you ever stopped to think what kind of damage all of these over-the-counter painkillers are doing to your body?
Well, let’s take a look at what both ibuprofen and acetaminophen do to you and your overall health.
There is a constant war about which is worse, ibuprofen or acetaminophen, and, as an “every once in a while” remedy, both are fine.
But, if your popping either of these every-day or every other day to deal with those nasty headaches, you’re body isn’t thanking you.
Ibuprofen is processed in your kidneys and long-term use of ibuprofen has the potential to cause serious kidney damage. Here are some potential side effects of ibuprofen.
- Long-term analgesics (ibuprofen) can cause kidney disease and even failure.
- Blurry vision
- Shortness of breath
- Skin rash
- Weight loss or gain
- Kidney issues
- Headaches (ironic)
Acetaminophen, on the other hand, is processed in your liver. Long-term use of acetaminophen can lead to chronic liver disease or liver failure. Here are some potential side effects of acetaminophen.
- Troubles breathing
We aren’t saying that these over-the-counter painkillers are horrible, we just think that it’s about time we looked at some safer alternatives to everyday pain – like headaches.