I am no Adonis. Even at my fittest, my six-pack was more like a half keg, but it did not keep me from being active, strong, and even fairly athletic. I won’t say I NEVER got sick, but more often than not any ailments I suffered from were self-induced, and those few that were brought on by microscopic beasties usually passed quickly (if with a bit of suffering). As I get older, and my iron constitution is getting a little on the rusty side, the ailments are a bit more frequent, but barring a few major system failures due to faulty equipment, I am still basically a healthy guy.
Headaches fell into the rarity category for me. If I got them, it was almost always because I somehow maltreated myself, such as doing my best to empty all the bottles in a bar or trying for records in sleep deprivation. So when I suddenly had a rather intense (definitely on the migraine side of the affliction) headache that lasted a week, despite living a chaste and quiet life of late, it seemed likely that something in the old bod needed a bit of tuning up. I swallowed anything left of my pride and went to ye old human body mechanic. They did the required poking and prodding, and came to the conclusion that … dun, dun, dunnnn …
… I had a headache. Why I had a headache was as much a mystery to the doc (technically Nurse Practitioner) as it was to me, since there are about as many different causes for headaches as there are stars in the sky (very slight exaggeration). Further testing was suggested, and some pain killers to help with the actual ACHE part of the issue were prescribed.. The pain killers helped, but they had the standard long list of possible side effects, top of the list being … well … headaches. The MRI was done with little difficulty, the only exception being the resultant headache. It revealed that I had a sinus infection, so I was given some antibiotics, with a long list of side effects that included headaches. The antibiotics had little effect, prompting a visit to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, who verified that I had an infection, though the infection seemed in the wrong place for my headache. So he put me on an even stronger antibiotic, with similar warnings and results as the first one.
By this time, the intensity and persistence of this demon headache had significantly lessened, so I decided that I would call it a day and just take Tylenol when the monster returned, which it was now doing frequently. For the next few weeks I had an uneasy alliance with the creature that insists on inhabiting my cranial space, and life went back to what passes for normal to me. Just a few days ago, I went to see the doc for the semi-annual emissions testing (I got my new sticker with no issues), and mentioned that the headache demon had taken up permanent residence, though Tylenol seemed to mostly keep him from partying it up. Doc kindly informed me that there is this wonderful phenomenon that occurs when you take too many quick pain relief meds to deal with headaches … namely something called Rebound Headaches … so I should probably stop taking the Tylenol.
Let’s recap. Headaches are when the head part of us … well … aches. There are a gazillion reasons for headaches. Tests to isolate the reason might result in headaches. There are medicines to help headaches, which usually have headaches as a possible side effect. Quick working painkillers that will stop headache pain can result in having rebound headaches, so it is best to NOT take said painkillers to avoid getting a headache as a result of making your headache feel better.
Moral of this story: the best cure for a headache is to not have one in the first place.