Everyone has had a headache at some point in their life. Some headaches start out as a mild throbbing sensation, easily relieved with some basic treatments while others progress into a full-blown migraine requiring serious medication and a dark room to lie down in.
There are a thousand triggers for headaches and this article is meant as a suggestion of a few of the most common reasons I see headaches in practice. It is by no means extensive and as always, please consult with your healthcare provider if your pain changes, does not improve or worsens.
1. Blood sugar swings
How many of you have skipped a meal and ended up with a headache as a result? Blood sugar swings from skipped meals, late meals, or high sugar/high carbohydrate meals are easily fixed by eating regularly (no-brainer), eating a breakfast high in protein, and making sure to have high protein snacks on hand.
A patient of mine who is a nurse complained of daily headaches that started mid-morning and lasted all day every day except on the weekends. Turns out, she either skipped breakfast or had a high sugar cereal during the week but ate eggs on the weekend. Once she made the adjustment, her headaches were alleviated.
2. Menstrual headaches
How many of you don’t even need your phone app to predict your menstrual cycle because your migraine just before is warning enough? Menstrual headaches typically occur just before your menses or within the first few days of bleeding.
Some women experience mid-cycle (ovulatory) headaches as well. If you aren’t certain, start tracking your headaches along with your period to see if there is a correlation. Hormone testing may be of benefit for you as the sudden fall of your levels that will trigger your menses also triggers the head pain.
3. Musculoskeletal issues
How many of you are slouched over in your chair reading this with your shoulders hiked up around your ears? When you go for a massage do you ask for the therapist to focus on your upper back area? Does your chiropractor note the tense muscles in your neck at every visit? Does bodywork, a hot bath, a heating pad, or muscle relaxants alleviate the pain?