Headaches can be quite unforgiving and they tend to range from mild annoyance to tossing your cookies in a dark bathroom.
Either way, they are no fun and often times affect how you go about your typical day. It has been estimated that roughly 57 billion dollars are spent annually in the U.S. managing headaches along with lost productivity. This is a sizable chunk of change for any economy.
If the dollar amount didn’t give it away, please know that headaches are pretty common. This, however, does not make them normal.
Face pain, vertigo, sinus pressure, auras, sound and light sensitivity, eye pain and dizziness can all be associated with headaches. While it is quite wonderful to rid yourself of these symptoms, it is even better for your body and more cost effective in the long run to eliminate the cause.
There are a plethora of reasons why one might be getting headaches, however I can assure you it is not from a Motrin, Excedrin or Aleve deficiency. These can certainly help from time to time, but to make it a lifestyle would likely be considered unwise.
Acetaminophen (and other NSAID's), the active ingredient in most headache drugs, can potentially have some nasty side effects that include: swelling of the tongue, insomnia, nausea, fever, jaundice, nervousness, irritability, headaches (go figure) and in severe cases a skin rash that can lead to death.
Besides this interesting yet non-exclusive list, acetaminophen basically wreaks havoc on your liver. Fortunately for most of us our livers rebuild themselves quite quickly (30-40 days under good conditions).
Acetaminophen depletes the liver of its store of glutathione. This wouldn’t be a big deal except for the small fact this plays a huge role in immune function, free radical oxidation (anti-oxidant) and tissue repair (especially important if you’re already under a lot of stress or place a high physical demand on your body).
If you currently suffer from headaches, here are a few of the usual suspects to take into consideration.
Food additives- If you currently consume one or more of these products, I’d strongly recommend you discontinue use. Do this for about 30 days. If the headaches persist, chances are there is a structural issue that needs corrected through chiropractic care, but I digress.
MSG- Monosodium glutamate, also known as yeast extract, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed protein, soy protein isolate, or simply “natural flavoring.” If anything in your cupboard has these words on it, then you can bank on it having MSG. There are actually many more names this goes by. You can find a decent source of this information here, http://www.livestrong.com/article/377482-other-names-for-msg-or-monosodium-glutamate/
Artificial sweeteners- This list includes basically any product that states sugar free and or low fat/ no fat. Some of these “foods” include diet soda, sugar free gum, sugar free juice, low calorie protein shakes, low fat yogurt, low fat pudding, low fat ice cream etc.
Water- Another possible source of your headaches could be that you are chronically dehydrated! Simple enough; drink more water!
Hormone Imbalance- For women, often times a hormonal imbalance can be the cause of headaches and they typically worsen, usually in the form of a migraine during menstruation, or PMS.
Stress- This one is a biggie, not simply because of the headaches they cause, but the overall health of an organism, especially when that organism is you. Reduce stress and simplify your life any and every opportunity you get. Your longevity depends on it.
Subluxation- There is literally study after study providing details on the overall effectiveness of upper cervical chiropractic and the management of headaches of all types; migraines (classic and common), cluster headaches, tension type and sinus headaches.
Out of the 4 case studies I read, covering 622 individual patients suffering from chronic benign headaches, 497 responded favorably to chiropractic care. Additionally, a randomized control trial observed chiropractic care consistently outperformed the medications, particularly over the long term.
Keep in mind, there a lot of things that can cause headaches. This list is not intended to self-diagnose or be all-inclusive but rather a starting point for someone who consistently deals with headaches.
As always, remember to stay hopeful and positive. There are always options out there that you have yet to explore! Go to work at it and find out what works for you.
Dr. Andrew R. Burns