Get Well

Hydrating Headaches

by Erica Murphy, blogger

(Courtesy of

Three o’clock hits and the pain kicks in. Intense pressure behind the eyes, constant throbbing at the temples and blurred vision are just a few of the symptoms. Advil doesn’t cure the cancer, massaging only leaves bright red imprints on your skin, and pinching the brim of your nose just ignites your sinuses. That pesky headache just won’t lighten up.

Maybe you had a really stressful day packed with long exams, or maybe you spent class after class watching boring video clips. What if you were just dehydrated? What if drinking a glass of water would ease the blinding pain?

In April of 2010, Dr. Sonia Partap, a professor at Stanford University, conducted a study on the presence of headaches in teenagers. She determined that certain daily activities affected the brain in a negative way. Along with typical things like stress and exhaustion, another problem she discovered was that students didn’t drink enough fluids.

The brain is composed of about 75 percent water; this water is used to balance chemicals and transport these chemicals through nerve endings. Without water, the brain does not work properly, which creates serious tension and pain leading to a headache.

Dehydration also plays a factor in the infamous “hangover headache.” In a study conducted at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, researchers used rats to test the affects of dehydration after gulping down a few shots.  The researches gave the rats ethanol, which caused the water levels to decrease. After about four to six hours of observing, the researchers found inflammation, which can cause headaches. Their results showed that dehydration does contribute to the “hangover headache.”

Unfortunately, your alcohol education classes possessed a little bit of truth. If you hate waking up with that splitting headache, or popping Advil four times a day, then listen to WTH. Swap a few sips of jungle juice for a refreshing drink of water and bring a water bottle with you class every day. Your head will thank you, and so will your parents for drinking responsibly.