Covid-19, the pandemic that almost stopped the world and its day-to-day activities. People were forced to remain alone and aloof from their loved ones due to this novel coronavirus. The SARS-CoV-2 first appeared in China in late 2019 and later on engulfed almost the entire world under its grasp. A lot of deaths occurred and an even larger number of people were infected.
With the emergence of alpha, delta, and omicron variants, several symptoms appeared in those infected by the virus. However, even after the illness was over around 10-65 percent of the survivors were affected by long covid. Long covid simply refers to the after-effects of Covid on the patients’ body and immune system.
Some of the major symptoms include:
- Extreme Tiredness or Fatigue
- Headaches after Covid
- Muscle aches
- Shortness of Breath
In this article, we will be discussing the second most common symptom of long covid i.e., Headaches after Covid. We will also be suggesting some ways which will help in relieving your pain.
What do Headaches after Covid feel like?
Headaches after Covid are among the most frequent symptoms persisting, or in some cases newly developing after Covid-19. In fact, they are number two on the list of post-Covid symptoms trailing just behind fatigue. Headaches after Covid are being termed as a part of the so-called long Covid syndrome. Research is still being conducted on Headaches after Covid as the knowledge on this topic is limited due to no previous records being available.
Long Headaches after Covid can present themselves in the following two forms:
- Worsening of pre-existing primary headache.
- New (intermittent or daily) headache that started during the acute infection or after a delay.
What are the types of Headaches after Covid?
- Tension-type headaches
- Muscular pain that radiating from the neck or shoulders to the head.
- Pain medications can help ease muscular and headache pain.
- Migraine headaches
- A complex neurological condition.
- Causes moderate to severe pain on one side of the head.
- Symptoms include light, smell, and sound sensitivity.
- Nausea or vomiting may occur accompanied by changes in vision.
- Both non-steroidal and steroidal drugs may be prescribed for relief.
- Cluster Headaches
- Severe pain on one side of the head.
- Symptoms include watery eyes and a runny nose.
- Smoking and drinking alcohol can trigger this headache.
What triggers Headaches after Covid?
Well, there is not much data to confirm the reasons for Headaches after Covid, but medical professionals and researchers have a few theories:
When the virus entered the lungs, it triggered the patient’s immune system. This in turn attracted immune cells to attack the virus causing localized inflammation. Sometimes, this response went into overdrive which resulted in headaches.
- Vascular Damage
Damage to the lining of the blood vessels also caused Headaches after Covid.
- Breathing Issues
It is common knowledge that Covid can cause breathing issues. Due to the availability of low levels of oxygen to the brain, headaches happen.
- Problems with the Eyes
SARS-CoV-2 infection also had an impact on the eyes. Hence a vision-related headache may also occur.
- History of Migraine Attacks
Pre-existing headaches or migraines may worsen after Covid infection.
- Overuse of Medications
Rebound headaches occur due to the overuse of over-the-counter medications to treat headaches.
- Caffeine, Alcohol, and Stress
Sleep deprivation is also a culprit in triggering headaches. Caffeine and alcohol can also cause headaches.
Wearing a mask often led people to forget to drink water. Even a mild case of dehydration is linked to headaches.
What can You do to make Headaches after Covid Bearable?
- Medical Treatment
- Taking medicines like Ibuprofen, Aspirin, or Naproxen.
- Taking prescription migraine medicines.
- Natural Remedies
- Exercising helps in alleviating stress and reduces pain.
- You can apply heat to tense muscles.
- Applying a cool compress may also be beneficial.
- Get a massage in the shoulders, neck, jaw, and back of the head which will loosen your tense muscles.
- Go for a warm shower or bath as this can have a relaxing effect on your muscles.
- Stay hydrated at all times. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
When to consult a doctor if you are suffering from Headaches after Covid?
Although headaches are very common and most of them are harmless and go away on their own. However, some headaches can be a sign of a medical emergency. Please visit the doctor in case you suffer from the following symptoms along with Headaches after Covid:
- Double vision
- Stiff neck
- Slurred speech
- Weakness or paralysis in one or both sides of the face or one or both arms
How long can it take to recover from Headaches after Covid?
After Covid, you might get more headaches than the time that you were infected. The headaches may even last longer. Recovery from Headaches after Covid may vary from person to person.
In some cases, the recovery time ranges up to two weeks. Whereas in other cases, a person might need somewhere between 6 months to 1 year to recover from Headaches after Covid.