What causes a headache and gas

Distress signal headache

What can be behind the pain A headache is not always just a headache that can be relieved relatively quickly with medication. If there is hammering, stabbing, knocking and pulling in the upstairs room, this can also be an emergency signal from the body: that an illness needs to be taken into account or that something is not tolerated. MEDICINE popular about the many possible triggers of the headache. By Mag. Sabine Stehrer

A painful pulling, stabbing, tensioning, pounding or buzzing head in the head: everyone experiences this at some point in the course of their existence, regardless of living conditions, lifestyle and age. Region and climatic conditions are also irrelevant when it comes to the frequency of headaches: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the condition is equally widespread all over the world.
Not all headaches are the same, emphasizes the President of the Austrian Headache Society, Dr. Gernot Luthringshausen from the University Clinic for Neurology at the Salzburg State Clinics: "We now know more than 220 different types of headache." The various forms of pain are roughly divided into two groups by experts: "We differentiate between primary and secondary headaches," says Luthringshausen Insight into his area of ​​expertise. In 90 percent of the cases, the headache occurs primarily as an independent ailment and not as a side effect of another problem. Tension headaches and migraines are just as widespread as they are agonizing representatives of this type.
It is often impossible to determine what exactly causes primary headaches: "The triggers suspected are often lack of fluids, lack of sleep, long stays in bad air, smoking, alcohol consumption, eating errors the day before or even stress," says Gernot Luthringshausen. In these cases, medication can quickly help get rid of the pain.
Treatment is not always that simple in the remaining ten percent or so of the cases in which the headache does not exist in isolation. “These secondary pains are symptomatic,” says the expert: “That means they appear as a concomitant symptom of a new disease, or they indicate a disease.” If you feel bad and the body then also sends strong signals Headache SOS, according to Luthringshausen, you should definitely take it as an emergency signal, take your own condition seriously and go to the doctor.

Stroke, cerebral haemorrhage

Call the emergency doctor, "If headache occurs suddenly and violently and you have other serious complaints at the same time such as paralysis, numbness, visual, speech or consciousness disorders", appeals Luthringshausen. "These symptoms can indicate a threatening stroke."
Sometimes sudden, severe headaches are also caused by the rupture or rupture of vessels in the brain and subsequent cerebral hemorrhage, which are also very dangerous "and require rapid, specific therapy," says Luthringshausen.

Frontal sinus or encephalitis

You should also see a doctor quickly if your head suddenly hurts and you get a high fever at the same time. Luthringshausen: "Then an inflammation of the frontal sinus or meningitis, i.e. an inflammation of the meninges, could cause the symptoms." These diseases are mostly due to an infection with viruses or bacteria and, according to the doctor, should be treated accordingly as soon as possible.

Root and ear infections

A little less dramatic are those secondary headaches that are accompanied by toothache. "If the toothache is severe and the entire head hurts like hell at the same time, a tooth root is usually inflamed," explains the neurologist. Then a root canal treatment at the dentist will help to alleviate the pain. "If headaches in connection with ear, throat or throat pain persist for an unusually long time, you should also consult a doctor and seek treatment," says Luthringshausen. Because then there are often severe infections behind the pain such as B. otitis media. If left untreated, these health problems can result in permanent hearing loss.

Cold and flu

Secondary headaches, which everyone has probably already experienced, are also those that occur when infected with cold and flu viruses. The headache often persists as long as the throat is burning, the nose is running, coughing, fever and, in the case of the flu, also tormenting body aches. Why it is like that? "The inflammation caused by the virus strains the entire organism and, in addition to other symptoms, also triggers headaches," explains Gernot Luthringshausen. The symptoms can be alleviated with special medication prescribed by a doctor.

Gastrointestinal disease and high blood pressure

Medicines also help with the secondary headaches that occur in the course of those infections with viruses, which are also comparatively common, which trigger stomach and intestinal diseases: Then the headache joins nausea, diarrhea and stomach pain. Even if it revolves around you from time to time and the dizziness is accompanied by a throbbing in the head, you should have a doctor examine you as soon as possible. This could be due to high blood pressure, which in the medium and long term increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes.

Medicines and foods

Sometimes the body's reactions to substances in medication or food trigger various complaints from dizziness to stomach pain to nausea, which are accompanied by headaches. A single food ingredient can be enough to cause a headache. The best-known example of this is the flavor enhancer glutamate, which leads to headaches paired with many different more or less pronounced complaints - the so-called china restaurant syndrome.

Headache from having a headache?

A headache can actually trigger a headache: "The circling of thoughts about difficult problems and stressful situations can be associated with headaches," confirms headache expert Dr. Gernot Luthringshausen. But not only that: "Mood swings and depression are often accompanied by headaches." The exact relationships are still the subject of research, however.

Suddenly, violently, right over?
Risk of mini stroke

Sudden, violent headaches can also herald what is called "minor stroke" or "transitory ischemic attack" (TIA) and popularly belittled as "Schlagerl". Because the ghost is usually over within a few minutes, many do not go to the doctor and risk dire consequences: "In up to a third of all cases, the temporary symptoms are harbingers of a more severe stroke," warns Univ. Doz. Hans-Peter Haring, neurologist and President of the Austrian Stroke Society.
In addition to severe headaches, a so-called mini-stroke can also cause the following symptoms and last several minutes:

  • Unilateral paralysis or muscle weakness
  • One arm can no longer be lifted, one leg can no longer be moved, one corner of the mouth hangs down, one half of the face feels furry.
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Suddenly words or syllables are swapped, words no longer come to mind, sentences can no longer be formulated.
  • Visual disturbances
  • Suddenly one sees double, blurred or not at all with one eye.
  • Vertigo and loss of balance

In the event of one or more of these typical symptoms, which are usually temporary within a few minutes, the ambulance should be called immediately (144) or relatives should bring you to a hospital with a neurological department for examination and treatment.

Book tip:
Headache migraine.
The most important questions and answers
ISBN 978-3-99052-076-5
120 pages, € 12.80
Doctors publishing house
October 2013

Status 02/2015