Are Headaches Ruining Your Life?
Everyone has had headaches at one time or another. But many people suffer from headaches frequently, even daily. Tension headaches, sinus headaches, migraine headaches, all can be debilitating. Stop the pain... There can be many reasons for headaches, and it may be normal to get a headache occasionally. But to have headaches weekly or even daily is a problem and knowing the cause is really important to treatment. Simply popping aspirin or even stronger pain killers does not solve the problem, it simply takes away the symptom. And that symptom is a sign to draw your attention to an imbalance that needs to be addressed. Also, many pain killers actually have negative effects on the liver and other organs over time. So you may simply be exchanging one problem for another. We recommend taking a look at natural options for headaches, and the first place to start is figuring out what your headaches are trying to tell you.
Dehydation — low levels of hydration can really wreak havoc with the body tissues. Many times, sufficient water may be ingested, but low levels of minerals necessary for the processing of water may cause it all to be lost in urination and perspiration. Or there may be so many additives in your water, that it stops dead at the liver. Ionized water may be the answer for you, since high quality ionizers will change the structure of water to smaller microclusters making it easier to absorb and for the body to use efficiently. Another option is to take magnesium which will increase the efficiency of your water usage, while relaxing muscles at the same time. Nettle Leaf is another option for infusing large quantities of minerals into your system to help with water management.
Muscle tension — simple muscle tension in the neck and shoulders can restrict blood flow to the point that the body has to intervene with diuretic hormones to restore sufficient blood flow to the brain. This is the point at which migraines strike. The strongest factor in migraines is chronic neck and shoulder tension, either as a reaction to posture, to emotional issues or to pain in another part of the body. Massage Therapy is the core treatment here with additional intake of magnesium and the amazing herb Cramp Bark to reduce muscle tension at a chemical level.
Lack of blood flow — restricted blood flow to the brain over time can be devastating and many times something as simple as capillary spasm or even blood pressure issues may be the cause. Ginkgo Biloba and Bilberry are perfect for improving microcirculation and Hawthorn and Mistletoe can help to balance fluctuations in blood pressure that bring on headaches. Also using massage therapy to increase overall blood flow throughout the body can be the perfect solution not just for this issue, but also for reducing overall body tension.
Connective tissue tension — oftentimes the connective tissue sheath that lies just under the skin can twist and restrict all the subcutaneous tissues such as blood vessels, nerves and muscles. This can cause headaches that last hours or even days. Myofascial Release is the best treatment here, helping to relax and restructure proper lines of connective tissue tension.
Glandular weakness — many glandular issues can bring on headaches as a chronic symptom. For instance the pituitary controls blood pressure, water balance and skin circulation with the hormone ADH. The adrenal glands are notorious for being behind headache issues. Playing with insulin levels, controlling kidney function, spiking cortisol are all potential contributors. And female hormones such as estrogen can also be linked to headaches, which explains menstrual headches including migraines.
Intestinal toxins - high blood pressure or damage to the intestinal lining can cause capillary leakage of intestinal toxins into the body, a condition commonly referred to as Leaky Gut Syndrome. The presence of these toxins will cause the immune system to continually react to try to remove these foreign particles from the blood. Long-standing intestinal toxins will produce symptoms similar to food poisoning, which often can translate into headaches as a toxic response.
Liver insufficiency and hypoglycemia - any backup in the liver can cause material that would normally be removed from the blood such as excess hormones, toxins, dead cells, etc., to remain. Again, this can bring up an immune response and also place pressure on supporting organs such as the kidneys and skin. For instance if your headaches are related to allergies, environmental exposure, smells or foods, then the liver may be the place to look. Try simple liver decongestant herbs such as Rosemary, Dandelion Root, Globe Artichoke, Milk Thistle and even Standard Process Antronex, which is great at whisking away offending substances from the liver.
Changes in cerebral spinal fluid pressure - this is one of the major factors in migraine headaches. Cerebrospinal fluid bathes the brain and spinal cord in a protective fluid that not only cushions it, but hydrates, feeds and cleans the delicate nerve cells. Often if you feel tension down your spine, in the roof of the mouth or at the base of your spine with your headaches, then this fluid balance may be the issue. This fluid cycles a number of times each minute and must have a free flow in order to maintain proper balance. Dehydration, muscle and connective tissue tension, and low mineral concentrations can all be to blame. There is a wonderful bodywork technique called Craniosacral Therapy which can help to restore the normal cycling of fluid, while a simple trick of one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before each meal can double the amount of minerals you absorb from your food.
Allergies - allergy reactions are another strong factor in migraines, as well as seasonal headaches. This goes back to liver issues, but also chronic issues can create sinus problems that just lengthen the suffering. Euphrasia and Baical Skullcap are amazing for working directly on the sinuses and restoring more normalized histamine responses in these delicate tissues.
Eye Strain — don’t underestimate the effect of vision and eye strain on the nerves of the head. Even vertigo falls into this category and often undiagnosed vertigo issues can be behind chronic headaches. First, get your vision checked. Then have your ears checked for excess wax which can throw off your equillibrium. Sometimes a blow to the head can create these same symptoms, but they may not manifest for some time after the injury. Craniosacral Therapy is once again essential, but ear candling to remove excess ear wax and then making sure you have the support you need for vision is imperative. Bilberry, Vitamin A and Eyebright are great for vision, but Goldenseal is invaluable to ensure that bacterial issues are kept to a minimum.
Histamine reaction - any release of histamine in the body brings about vasodilation and cellular debris. This is the issue with liver congestion, allergies, breathing problems and even chronic muscle strain. The most common reaction to this process is a headache, and in many cases migraines. It is important to determine where in the body the histamine reaction begins and treat the underlying issues. Sometimes it can even be undetected damage to tissue due to a latent infection, excess acidity, microbial activity or drug and alcohol use.
Chronic infection — infections can cause undetected damage and can linger at a latent level in the body tissues for months or even years. The excessive amounts of histamine and damaged cellular debris that is released causes a continual cycle of immune reaction and stress on the filtration organs such as the liver and kidneys. Often, chronic yeast or urinary tract infections are simply debris from a systemic infection that is ongoing. Regulation and support of the immune system is crucial with Echinacea angustifolia, Goldenseal, Cat’s Claw and Pau D’Arco. Also isolation and treatment of the underlying infection is important for lasting results.
Sugar Dysregulation — many people suffer from hypoglycemia, experiencing symptoms whenever they go too long without eating. Imbalances in glucose levels in the blood can bring on headaches chronically and sometimes lasting for days. The mistake that many people make is thinking that only the pancreas is involved in sugar regulation. In fact, dysregulation of glucose can involve and be caused by issues with the liver, the adrenal glands and glucose tolerance factor of the blood (chromium levels). Eating regularly is key, but also things like inositol, Gymnema, Licorice and chromium can all be helpful.
Female Cycle Headaches — menstrual headaches can be devastating, often because of all the other symptoms that can be a regular part of the female cycle. I recommend to my patients Standard Process Ovex and Chaste Tree daily and then beginning just before the premenstrual time, MediHerb Wild Yam Complex and a trace mineral compound with B12 throughout the menstrual time.
Migraines — migraines are a special class of headaches and the propensity for them can be genetic. Many of the contributing factors listed above may be the reason migraines have become a part of your life. However, the involvement of capillary spasm steps up to the front of the line as a consideration. Ginkgo and Bilberry are the best herbs for capillary spasm, but also magnesium every single day without fail. This is especially important if there are other signs of muscular tension such as twitching or severe muscle tension, TMJ or leg cramps.
I also have great luck with Myofascial Release as a bodywork treatment which has been able to eliminate migraines in just a few sessions. And my famous Migraine Salvation herbal formula includes White Peony, Greater Celandine, Jamaican Dogwood, Lime Flowers, Valerian, Feverfew, Boswellia, Cramp Bark, Skullcap, Rehmania.
You can also inhale Feverfew in steam form to help minimize an attack. But the long term solution is to really look at calcium utilization and your stomach acidity levels. Often this is where the chain of events starts, so beginning there can put an end to the migraine cycle.