Understanding your Headaches

Headaches are a common occurrence that most people experience at some point in their lives. These unpleasant sensations can vary in intensity and triggers, depending on the individual. It’s time to gain a deeper understanding of headache types and their underlying causes. This will improve our ability to effectively manage and treat them.

Headache Causes

Headache Types and CausesHeadaches can stem from various sources, and when they hit you, the pain can be debilitating in some instances.

  • Stress: When someone feels stressed or tense, it can cause their neck and shoulder muscles to tighten, resulting in tension headaches. One of the best things you can do is to learn how to better manage your stress. Some people manage their stress with adaptogens.
  • Hunger and Food: Simply being hungry can trigger a migraine or tension headache. That is why it is important to eat regularly. Additionally, specific foods can also cause headaches. Many individuals need to go through a trial-and-error process to identify which foods trigger them. Some of the top trigger foods are sugar substitutes like aspartame, msg, processed and cured meats, and sometimes even some nuts (almonds and peanuts).
  • Alcohol: For some individuals, consuming even a small amount of alcohol can trigger a headache or migraine. This can occur with any type of alcoholic beverage. But it is unclear whether the alcohol itself is the cause or if it is due to another ingredient present in the drink, like the histamine found in red wine.
  • Environmental Factors: Some people need to avoid bright lights, humidity, smoke, powerful scents, or certain weather conditions to prevent a headache attack. Many people experience cluster headaches during seasonal changes.
  • Hormones: Fluctuating estrogen levels are often linked to migraines, especially during perimenopause. If you feel you have a hormonal imbalance, try seed rotation.
  • Caffeine Withdrawal: Abruptly stopping the intake of caffeine can trigger intense migraines. Thsi is due to its impact on blood vessels, which results in constriction.
  • Insufficient Sleep: Tension headaches and migraines can be caused by inadequate sleep. Those who suffer from these headaches often try to sleep to relieve the symptoms. Check out our newsletter for natural remedies to help make sure you are getting a good night’s sleep.

What are the different Headache Types

All headaches are not the same, and understanding the differences can help you manage them better.

  • Tension-Type Headache (TTH): These headaches are fairly common. They are associated with tension and muscle contractions within the neck, face, and jaw.
  • Migraine: Migraines typically manifest as throbbing, pulsating pain on one side of the head, but can switch sides during an attack.
  • Medication Overuse Headache (MOH): Lots of individuals resort to medication to manage their severe headaches, but overusing these drugs may actually cause headaches. The location and severity of these headaches differ from person to person, and they are often a daily part of life for many.
  • Cluster Headache: The pain is typically felt behind one eye or on one side of the face and can last for 15 to 30 minutes per attack.
  • Thunderclap Headache: The most severe type of headache can come on suddenly and cause intense pain. It could be a sign of a life-threatening condition, such as an aneurysm or blood clot in the brain, among other serious conditions. If you are experiencing this type of headache, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.

What are the Treatment Options

As always, it’s important to discuss your headaches with your health care provider. We all know that each of us experiences things differently. Common standard treatment options include over-the-counter headache pain relief medication, prescription pain relievers, preventative prescription medication (often used for migraines). It may also require addressing any underlying conditions that may be causing the headaches. As always, I think its always best to focus on creating healthy eating habits, managing stress, and focusing on exercise and sleep.