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Many people today suffer from headaches. They range from mild, and infrequent, or possibly daily, to severe and debilitating, going from one headache or migraine into another. Frequently, when I ask my patients if they have headaches, they say “not really”. When I inquire deeper, they say, “Well, yes. But it’s the normal headache everyone has”. I’m saddened to think anyone believes a headache is normal, because there is no such thing as a “normal headache”.


I too when I was young believed there were normal headaches. I had headaches from as far back as I can remember. I would self-medicate as soon as I recognized what baby aspirin was, then, as I got older, I discovered adult aspirin. During one period of my childhood I remember taking 8 full strength aspirin at a time, because that was the magic number that would finally disperse my headache. It wasn’t unusual to do that several times a week. I don’t think my parents ever knew. I was lucky all that aspirin didn’t eat a hole in my stomach! They progressed into pretty severe migraines at one time and it took many years as an adult and later as a practitioner to figure my headaches out. I’m sure glad I don’t have those anymore!


I know too well how debilitating they can be, so I have an extra measure of compassion for those who suffer from headaches and migraines. I had a patient once whose headaches rarely stopped. She sought my help after she had had a solid migraine for 21 days. She went to the Emergency Room 5 or 6 times during that period for pain relief and dehydration as her vomiting was nearly constant and nothing was working. The last day she ever went to the ER they refused to see her because they said she was just after the drugs. She, in fact, hated the drugs and had resisted taking them for many years before finally succumbing. She still hated meds. She was so dumbfounded by their accusations that she decided to seek alternatives. She had contemplated them before, but fearing it wouldn’t work, she just kept on the merry-go-round of drugs, hoping against hope that they’d find the “magic pill” that stopped it all.


She came in to see us that very day, day 21 of her migraine. When she left, it was gone. Over the next few weeks of treatments they’d come and go, but immediately they lessened in intensity, duration, and frequency. Her life had revolved around her migraines. Her in-laws had moved across the street so they could “rescue” her with child care when she couldn’t function. After a month of not seeing their grandkids, the in-laws came to the door. Her son opened the door, then ran to mom “Oh Mom! Are you sick again?! I’m so sorry!” Mom said “No. I’m not sick. Why do you think I’m sick?” He said “Because Grandma and Grandpa are here!” They realized then how the visits from the grandparents always revolved around headaches. With those gone, they now had to find new excuses to come over!


Over my years of helping people with headaches, I have enjoyed seeing lives restored. There are many kinds of headaches, many causes of headaches and many solutions. Finding the right combination can free you from even so-called normal headaches!


© 2015 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.




Normal Headaches?

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Doctor of Oriental Medicine

Licensed Acupuncturist

Doctor of Naturopathy

Clinical Nutritionist

Master Herbologist



Dr. Holly A. Carling

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Dr. Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience.  Dr. Carling is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Dr. Carling considers herself a “professional student” – she has attended more than 600 post-secondary education courses related to health and healing. Dr. Carling gives lectures here in the U.S. and internationally and has been noted as the “Doctor’s Doctor”. When other healthcare practitioners hit a roadblock when treating their patients nutritionally, Dr. Carling is who they call. Dr. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’ Alene clinic.  Visit Dr. Carling’s website at to learn more about Dr. Carling, join our e-mail list and read other informative articles.  Dr. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 or and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.