Headaches (all types) plague more people in the United States than perhaps any single symptom (except fatigue). Unfortunately, the stresses of the holidays, both physical and emotional, often results in an increase in frequency and severity. Headaches can be simply an annoyance, or severe, such as a migraine – incapacitating the person for up to several days at a time.
As with all of the many symptoms a person can have, headaches are the body’s way of alerting the person to the fact that something is wrong. I was stunned the first time someone said to me “yes, I get normal headaches”! There is no such thing as a “normal headache”. All headaches mean something, and can mean several different things.
The good news is you don’t have to suffer! There is a causative factor (or factors) and once that is discovered, treatment can commence and life can return to normal (whatever that is!) Life should not be dictated by your symptoms.
So what are the causes of headaches? There are lots of reasons. Low blood sugar, toxic overload in the liver, fatigue, stress (physical or emotional), neck tension, digestive difficulties, alcohol in the blood or accumulated in the liver, loud noises, bright lights, inadequate sleep, smoke, imbalanced hormones, strong odors, sinus infections or congestion and allergic reactions. Certain foods and mineral imbalances can also trigger headaches.
Some people do well during stressful periods, and then when the stress is gone, the headache comes.
What can you do about it? First find the offender. You need someone who is skilled in helping decipher your symptoms (all of them, not just the headache – after all, you are a person, not a set of symptoms!)
Treat your headaches naturally. Don’t depend on drugs. The problem with drugs is that while they may help initially, the load they cause on the liver generally leaves you more susceptible to the next headache and it then becomes a vicious cycle.
The most effective methods we have found are using acupuncture, nutritional therapy and detox programs. Eliminating the toxins will reduce the load on your liver so that it is more effective in dealing with headaches, reduce your chemical sensitivities, help your body regulate sugars better and much more.
Acupuncture is a very effective way to manage headaches. Studies on acupuncture alone show that headaches are reduced in intensity by about 80% and frequency by 50%. When nutrition is added the results skyrocket and most headaches are alleviated totally, without residue.
Not only are certain foods in the diet triggers, but foods missing from the diet could be the very thing the body needed to mitigate the headache. Nutritionists trained in correcting illnesses through nutrition (and not just managing a disease) are helpful in finding remedies. The important thing to remember is that a headache is merely a symptom of something going wrong. Taking a remedy, no matter how “natural” it may seem, to stop the pain doesn’t handle the problem. The cause still needs to be addressed if you want to eliminate the headaches for a lifetime, and not just keep them under control. Take control of your headaches now – don’t let them control your day (or ruin your holidays!).
©2005 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.