Why Headaches Aren’t an Issue
And what should you do about them?
As someone who has suffered chronically from ‘headaches and migraines for most of my life, I know how infuriating the title is. Especially when they have controlled so many people throughout their lives.
There is nothing worse than being invited to a special occasion, or having to sit a test or do something really of any importance only to have to chart to see if it falls into your headache and migraine zone, or waking up with skull-crushing pain and having to cancel. I get it. Headaches are life-controlling.
So why aren’t they the problem?
Let’s start with what a headache is. They are normally described as pain to the head, face, or neck or pain-sensitive structures within the upper head, neck, and face. So basically, pain arising from the neck upwards. They can last 30 minutes to days. Migraines differ slightly from headaches as they don’t usually resolve with pain killers and can cause a greater incidence of visual problems along with light sensitivities.
All-in-all they can leave the sufferer bed-bound and truly ill.
Even though they are evil, they shouldn’t be viewed as an issue.
Ten of the most common causes include:
- Subluxations — Miss alignment of the bones can put pressure and tension on the nerves and is considered by some as one of the major causes of headaches.
- Dehydration — The brain and muscles need fluid without an adequate level the body is thrown out of balance. Muscles will tense up, blood flow is affected and the body just won’t work correctly. Headaches can be a major sign of dehydration.
- Blood pressure — If a person's blood pressure is too high it can cause a thumping sensation. A higher than normal blood pressure puts pressure on the cranium and resulting vessels.
- Eye Strain — Too much screen time can cause eye strain likewise if you are a contact or spectacle wearer you may need to check if your current prescription is correct. Straining through a weak prescription can cause headaches.
- Excitotoxins — Ingredients hidden in your food can cause headaches. An example of this would be MSG which is well known to cause headaches. Studies have shown that glutamate antagonists reduce headaches which have prompted more studies on the glutamatergic system and its effects on headaches.
- Muscular tensions — Tensions in a person's muscles can cause headaches as blood flow is restricted.
- Cervical curve — If there is injury, tension, or degenerative changes to the cervical region of the spine it can result in headaches and migraines. People can suffer from cervicogenic headaches from standing in their jobs for too long — hairdressers, for example, looking down at their mobiles, from a previous injury, or through other spinal conditions.
- Toxicity — Slow expulsion of foods and constipation can cause headaches. Likewise, any allergens, or substances which the body deems to be toxic or unwanted can result in headaches and migraines too.
- Nutrition — Dieting, fasting, or any change in calorific intake can result in headaches also. Changes to blood sugar can cause hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia which can cause neuro-inflammation.
- Disease — When an organ or a bodily system does not function as it should and the internal system is under stress headaches can be the first symptom. Even before any sign of disease or an autoimmune condition is found.
There are many other causes for headaches, some common, some not so common. Most people when they feel that thudding or dull pain in their heads grab for the nearest packet of pain relief to get rid of it so they can function normally and, that seems to be the standard go-to.
Feel the pain — get rid of the pain.
But, and this is a big but, headaches aren’t the issue.
We shouldn’t be reaching for pain relief as much as we want to. Feeling the pain should be the first sign that our body is crying out for help because something is wrong. Instead, we plaster over the symptoms with a pain-killing band-aid and nothing is ever resolved until the body is placed under a higher level of stress and dysfunction.
If we only took a moment to consider pain as a message — then considered where it could come from, maybe, just maybe we would find a resolution. Overall mindfulness with our own wellness can only lead to an improved state of mind and overall improvement in function — heck, and more money in our wallets as we don’t buy so many pain killers.
9 Things to consider when the headache hits
- Did I get enough sleep / too much sleep last night?
- Have I had enough water? And I mean water and not fruit juices, energy drinks, and other sugar waters.
- How has my diet been lately? If it has been OK, how have my bowels moved? Slower than normal, quicker than normal? These can all be a cause.
- How has my back, neck, and shoulders felt lately? Have I been in awkward positions through study, work, hobbies, or injury? Do I slump more than normal?
- Are my hormones imbalanced? — PCOS, endometriosis, spots, hair changes, skin changes, menstruation, menopause, pregnancy can all create hormonal changes.
- If I truly consider my life at the moment, have I felt stressed? Stress can also alter hormones and trigger migraines and headaches.
- Do I clench my jaw or grind my teeth at night or throughout the day? This can cause tension, most people aren’t aware they do it. Unclench your jaw, take a deep breath and relax your shoulders — try to implement this process as a habit throughout the day.
- Have I had any infections? Cold, flu, sinus pain, throat, or chest pain? If so try cleaning out the sinuses with salt water to reduce the inflammatory mucus.
- Do I feel that my glasses are no longer allowing me to see clearly? Have you had your eyes tested at an optometrist within the last 2 years? If not, make an appointment.
Most headaches are caused by imbalance, tension, and nutrition/hydration. Mentally scanning your body for possible causes gives you things to consider changing to reduce future headaches.
Consider your headaches as your long-distance best friend who is texting you a friendly warning. Would you turn your phone off for them?
Disclaimer: As always if you have any symptoms that go on for longer than normal, last longer than normal, or cause any worry you should absolutely always seek medical help and assistance even if it is just to make sure all is OK.