Headaches and Dehydration: What is the Connection?

Headaches and Dehydration: What is the Connection?

There are many types of headaches that can come on at different times at different levels of pain. Migraine sufferers can learn their triggers and avoid them or work on being as proactive as possible to avoid these headaches. Tension headaches can be worked through with relaxation techniques and medication. Sinus headaches can pop up with colds and allergies. But what about dehydration headaches? Not one of the more commonly known types, we look into this type of headache and what to do if you have one.

The Basics of Headaches

Dehydration headaches are caused by not taking in enough fluids and your body does not have enough water to perform normal functions. Your body needs a proper balance of fluid and electrolytes. You are constantly losing fluids when you sweat and urinate. This balance is typically restored when you eat and drink as normal throughout the day. But if you are sick or participating in extreme exercise, you can prompt an imbalance that will result in a dehydration headache. Lack of fluid can cause a temporary shrinking of your brain that causes pain and a headache. 

It can be hard to determine if it is a dehydration headache as the pain can range from mild to as severe as a migraine and the pain can be in the front, side, back or all over your head. Other symptoms related to dehydration can include: fatigue, dizziness, extreme thirst, dark-colored urine, dry mouth and low blood pressure.

How to Treat, Avoid Dehydration

If you believe you have a dehydration headache, you need to intake fluid and take pain medication. A sports drink with electrolytes will help as well as relaxing and decreasing activities. If you are prone to headaches or are participating in extreme exercise, try to combat these types of headaches by drinking more fluid throughout the day and eating food with high water content, such as cucumbers and watermelon. Watch your caffeine and alcohol intake, which can increase urine output and cause dehydration. If you are going to be outside in extreme heat, make sure to drink even more fluids than normal. If you are not feeling your best, take a day off of exercising and rest up with water to avoid a dehydration headache.

Chronic Pain Should Be Addressed

If you have continued headaches that you cannot pinpoint the cause or need a strong treatment plan, contact our team at Pain Control Associates for an appointment. We will work with you from Day One on what you are facing and how to approach your pain. We will begin with a conversation on your health history, past accidents and injuries and a physical exam. Our physicians also work with patients who have back pain, neck pain, neuropathy, sciatica and more. If you have any questions, reach out to us through our online contact form.


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