We all get headaches from time to time, but when it becomes a frequent issue then it’s time to start trying to figure out what is causing them.
One of the worst cases of headaches I had ever seen was in my hair dresser. She was constantly going to the emergency room trying to find relief. She had seen several neurologists, chiropractors & specialists as well as trying a multitude of medications without any progress. READ ON to learn what was causing her headaches and some causes of headaches that you may not be aware of and five options for treatments…..
Headache cause #1: Food sensitivities
With my hair dresser, every time I would go in for my haircut I would tell her I thought she had a food sensitivity but she just kept going the traditional route. Finally, one day after a horrible weekend in the ER I happened to see her the next day and she agreed to come and do this test. It was life changing, literally. In the course of three weeks, she went from having severe migraines daily to zero! Yes, Zero. I find food sensitivities as the culprits for many headaches. It is not the IgE food issues that typically cause them but the IgG food issues. Make sure you do the correct test.
Headache cause #2: Hormones
We have varying amounts of hormones throughout our cycle. These headaches typically cluster right around the menstrual cycle so be sure and keep a record of when you are having them. If it is the same time of each cycle then it is hormonal. Often adding magnesium & fish oil the week before your cycle can help. In addition, a touch of progesterone or in rarer cases estrogen can also help. If you are younger then taking a birth control pill may help but I would not advise this after the age of 40.
Headache cause #3: Structural
This can be a huge category including muscle issues related to stress or positioning related to your job or how you sleep. It can also be pinched nerves related to disc issues in your neck. Trying different pillows might help as well as massage therapy if it is a muscular issue. I really like manual therapy for the muscular kind also because they really work on the alignment without the snap, crackle, pop with chiropractor therapy. That being said, chiropractors can often help, too though. If you have a disc issue then a neurosurgeon needs to be consulted for options of treatment.
Headache cause #4: Mold
I have had several patients recently with daily headaches that when we went digging deeper discovered they had mold in their houses. If you are waking up with headaches then go on a hunt and really investigate all the nooks and crannies. There is a new company called “Mold Busters” in Oklahoma that has a patented fog for mold that can often be used instead of ripping everything out.
Headache cause #5: too much medication
You can actually get rebound headaches when you take migraine medication too frequently. If you are reaching for your medication more than once a week then you might just be having a rebound headache.
Obviously, there are some serious causes of headaches that need to be mentioned.
- High blood pressure will cause a significant headache and can be a medical emergency so be sure and check your blood pressure to make sure you aren’t in a critical range.
- Tumors of the brain will cause significant headaches and often MRI scans are done just to rule this out.
- Inflammation of the blood vessels in the temples (temporal arteritis) may cause a significant headache.
- Increased intracranial pressure can cause headaches and will often affect the vision, too. Have your eyes checked because you can see the pressure is elevated by looking in the back of the eye. I should also mention that an incorrect eye glass prescription will cause headaches. Just another reason to get your eyes checked.
- Sleep apnea may also be a culprit for headaches especially if you are waking up with them. If you snore or find yourself waking up with a start, snorting or gasping then go get a sleep study. You can do these at home now is most cases!
Here are a few supplements/treatments that I have found useful for headaches:
- Vitamin B2 200mg twice a day
- Magnesium dose anywhere from 200mg up to 1200mg. Too much and you will get diarrhea so back down on the dose if this occurs
- Butterbur supplements may help with preventing migraines
- Feverfew supplements may also help (combination products with butterbur and feverfew may be even better than alone)
Don’t live with daily headaches…. Start looking at the underlying causes and seek help!
To you health,