It's all in your head - Headaches and Migraines

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It starts in the back of your skull, or at your temples. A pulsing pain that radiates through your entire head. You feel like little the seven dwarfs are hammering away in your skull. Concentrating on anything is impossible. You feel like your eyes are going to pop out of their sockets, or you want to tear your head out. Then the nausea comes, feeling like you’re going to vomit because the pain is so intense. Closing your eyes may seem like a good idea but then all you can focus on is the pain. You sleep for a bit, escaping the pain in the only way you know how. And when it’s done, when there is no more pain, you feel hungover, like you’ve run a marathon. Foggy, cloudy and a little out of it. 

Or maybe that’s just me. I have been suffering from chronic headaches for coming up to four years now and the above is how I feel with every headache over a 7 on the pain scale. While every person experiences a headache differently and there are many different types of headaches, there are common symptoms associated with each headache type. 

How common is a headache?

It’s more common than you think. Headaches are one of the most prevalent pain conditions affecting people today. It is also not unusual that people suffer them daily, and have suffered for many years, myself included. It becomes your new “normal” and people tell themselves that it is “normal” for them. But it is not normal.  

There are 14 different major classifications of headaches. The three most common types of headaches are: tension-type headaches, migraines and cluster headaches.

Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches in adults. They are described as a dull pain, tightness or pressure around your forehead or the back of your head and neck. The degree of severity remains the same and some people say it feels like a clamp squeezing the skull. Tension headaches are also known as stress headaches.

Migraines are powerful headaches that can last from 4 hours to 3 days. There are two types of migraines: with an aura and without an aura. Both have severe throbbing pain on one side of the head and are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, cold hands and a sensitivity to light and sound. The difference between these two migraines is migraines with an aura have warning symptoms that may develop including visual disturbances, numbness in arm or leg. Once the warning symptoms subside, severe pain occurs within half an hour. 

Cluster headaches are a series of short but extremely painful headaches that occur near the eye. Tearing of the eye, sinus congestion and flushing of the face may be associated with this form of headache. These headaches can occur every day and last for weeks or months at a time, then disappear. They may happen at the same time every year and not occur again until the next year.

What can cause a headache?

Headaches can be triggered by many different things, and most headaches have more than one contributing factor. And some people who suffer from headaches every day are unaware of what their triggers could be. Common triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • Dehydration
  • Bad posture
  • Fatigue
  • Foods
  • Food additives
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Environmental changes
  • Certain medications

 

And this is just naming a few. 

While we cannot give you a miracle fix with holistic care, we can help with some suggestions and alternatives to medications that will give you a better quality of life and may help with pain level, frequency and duration of the headaches you are experiencing.

Lifestyle changes that can help with headaches and migraines include:

Hydration: it is so important to be hydrated when you suffer from headache. It takes away the possibility of dehydration causing a headache to become worse.

Diet: avoiding foods that trigger your headaches is essential. This can include gluten or dairy for example. Remember everyone is different and what triggers your headache is not the same as someone else.

Excluding caffeine and alcohol from your diet can be beneficial to reducing the frequency of headaches you experience.

Exercise is a great way to keep healthy. It also reduces stress and tension in the body, which can help in the prevention of headaches.

Massage can help relieve the tension in the shoulders and neck, therefore reducing the intensity of the headache as well as the frequency of them. A great massage therapist in Ararat is Sarah Keith – you can get in touch with her by clicking here 

Chiropractic can also help reduce migraine/headache intensity and may reduce the frequency in which you experience them. A fantastic chiropractor in Ararat is Dr. Alyshia Mortimer – you can get in contact with her by clicking here.

Herbs and supplements can be extremely helpful in managing headaches and migraines. However, there a so many great herbs and supplements that you can choose from, it is important to work out what is right for you. These include magnesium, B vitamins, Coenzyme 10, Ginger, Lavender, Vervain and Cramp Bark to name a few. 

For me, I found a combination of all these methods above has helped me deal with my headaches. It was a lot of trial and error, but I eventually got the right combination. Now I also put some peppermint oil of the back of my neck, near my hairline when my headaches are extremely painful. It’s all about finding what’s right for you, and I am here to help you do so.

As everyone is different, it is important to seek professional help when choosing the right path for you. To book an appointment to discuss these options for you click the button below.