I get the whirlies whenever I stand up too fast, and every so often it comes with a wallop of cracking head pain right at the base of my skull. I got fed up with it today and did the thing doctors always tell you not to do, which was Google my symptoms to see what came up.

The verdict, after skimming several web sites and discarding the one that appears to be run by the same grade of loony who believes that not only does Morgellons exist, but that it is a secret government plot, is thus:

  1. It's probably nothing.
  2. Although there is a near-infinitesimal chance it might kill me.
This is a pretty fair assessment of any non-emergency medical annoyance, so I'm not worried.

'Not dangerous' is not the same thing as 'not objectionable', so I picked a couple of the more reputable-looking sites and poked around to see if there was any consensus on how to cope with the symptoms. 

Most of the advice on treating postural orthostatic hypotensive headaches centered on how to deal with the kind that come from a cerebrospinal fluid leak, a thing which sometimes happens after having a lumbar puncture or an epidural during childbirth, and occasionally also happens for no reason at all. I don't have any of the other symptoms of a CSF leak, particularly in that my headaches happen for maybe a second right when I stand up and don't exist otherwise, but the advice is to go bug a doctor about it and see if you can get them to patch the hole with blood. No lie, they inject a wee bit of your own blood right at the spot that's leaking and let it clot, which stops the leak long enough for the puncture to heal. Sort of the same idea as cracking an egg into a leaky radiator in the hopes that it'll congeal and let you limp to the nearest gas station, except your body fixes itself without the help of a spotty teenager with a squeegee.

The gold standard of treatment for this, as it turns out, is:
  1. Drink more water.
  2. Have some caffeine.
  3. Maybe take an ibuprofen.
  4. Try not to do the thing that makes your head hurt.
My current round of doctors has so often accused me of undertreatment and putting up with more than I ought to, that I'm almost tempted to go in and tell them all about this. For once, I'd love to have the satisfaction of pointing out that my standard "take stuff I can get at CVS and then ignore it" treatment plan is exactly what I ought to be doing. Caffeine apparently stimulates production of CSF in addition to raising blood pressure, which is why it's specifically recommended. (So does theophylline, should you be looking for an excuse to medicate yourself with chocolate.) The rest of it is just aimed at keeping your fluid levels up and making you less uncomfortable.

Barring something weird that ought to get me a segment on Mystery Diagnosis, my head hurts almost certainly because my blood pressure drops like a rock when I stand up too fast. And I know this because I can rocket to my feet as quickly as I like when I'm in the middle of doing something active like dancing or hooping, and nothing happens; my blood pressure is already up, since I'm doing aerobic exercise things. I'm not sure what else I can do about it, other than what I've been doing. I eat so much utter crap that if my blood pressure reacted to salt -- not everyone's does -- it would have by now.

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