Headache Merry-Go-Round

Headaches can be simply annoying, or they can be debilitating. They can go from one headache to another, like a merry-go-round, or they can come “occasionally”.  In conventional medicine, there are only 5 types of headaches: tension headaches, migraine headaches, cluster headaches, sinus headaches and rebound headaches (caused by using the medications to stop the headache). The treatment for all of them is drugs and/or rest.

Doctors who practice more natural methods of healing, choosing to address the underlying factors instead, see more like about 20-30 types of headache. In Traditional Chinese Medicine alone there are 10 or more depending on how it is categorized. Chiropractors have their set of causes, physical therapists and other “alternative medicine” practitioners have their views.

Some examples of other causes of headache include dehydration, muscle tightness, spinal misalignment (cervical spine generally), blood “stagnation” due to trauma, Qi deficiency due to mental or physical overwork, blood deficiency (traumatic loss of blood, anemia, or following long term illness), excess wind (cold wind, hot wind and wind with moisture produce different symptoms), dampness in general, and weaknesses or excesses of several organ systems such as the liver or kidneys. These all have different sensations in the head.

In addition, headaches can be caused by other environmental factors, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, blood sugar aberrations, blood pressure problems, sinus issues, exposure to toxins, medication side effects and as a part of their general medical condition.

Add to the list the many, many triggers, such as environmental, food, stress, physical activities, etc., and it can become quite complex.

Within some of these categories are sub-categories, or combinations of factors. The liver, for instance has so many functions that it is said that it is responsible for nearly every metabolic function in the body either directly or immediately indirectly. It is also said that most headaches have a liver component. More times than not, headaches have multiple etiologies and multiple triggers.

Proper treatment is essential if you want to get rid of the headaches for more than just awhile. Finding a good diagnostician that looks at all of the possibilities is essential.  Although medications can work for the moment, and they can truly be a blessing, they can also set you up to have more headaches. You can get off the headache merry-go-round by looking a little deeper into causative factors, and addressing them wholistically.

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

Dr. Holly Carling

Dr. Holly Carling

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.

Medical/Health Disclaimer:

The information provided in this article or podcast should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this article or podcast. Readers/listeners should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the author, but readers/listeners who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.

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