The National Headache Foundation states that 94% of headache sufferers have skipped a family or social event due to headaches. 88% have had to miss work on multiple occasions. Headaches are a secondary condition almost everyone can attest to experiencing. But why are they so common?
There are four main types of headaches: tension, migraine, cluster and rebound. Tension is the most common, and typically associated with stress, poor posture and Anterior Head Syndrome (AHS). Migraines are much more common in women; cluster headaches are in men. With migraines, there are often known triggers, such as dehydration, sulfites (most red wine, for example, contain sulfites) and chemicals (artificial sweeteners, cigarette smoke, etc.). The list of triggers can truly go on and on. Rebound headaches are the ones caused from over-use of medication to treat headaches, when one tries to get off of them. Overall, these four types account for 98% of all types of headaches, although there are over 200 different classifications.
Headaches are the number one reason for purchase of over-the-counter drugs. Understandably, these OTC medications offer a temporary solution to get through the day, which is necessary in this fast-paced world. It unfortunately does not take care of the cause of the headaches.
But what will?
The Journal of Occupational Trauma, in 2010, stated: "Headaches are more frequently caused by spinal stress than any other condition." When there are neuro-spinal shifts in the spine, it can alter how effectively the body adapts to stress, whether it is chemically or emotionally induced, or even to physical stress such as poor posture. It is necessary to have the spine evaluated for neuro-spinal shifts, as they could likely be the primary cause of the headaches. Obstructed nerves will lead to a decrease of adaptability to stress and will not be able to function properly. When the body's foundation, the spine, is not functioning properly, the body eventually responds through various secondary conditions, as is the case with headaches.
Of course, it is still very beneficial to make sure you are drinking enough water, eating as little of processed foods as possible, and have ample amount of rest and exercise. However, if all these great things are being done without addressing the neuro-spinal system, the primary cause of the symptomatic headaches might be missed.
Other helpful hints: track a food journal and see if the headaches occur either at a particular time of the day, or after eating a specific food. Avoiding artificial sweeteners, which are a known neurotoxin, is also recommended as there is no need to further compromise the nervous system. Pillows are another helpful factor. When a third of someone's life is being spent sleeping, supporting the neuro-spinal system while unconscious is a very productive way to address a potential headache trigger.
As a parting thought, the Canadian Family Physician Association found that "over 70% of all headaches are from problems with the cervical spine and its related structures." If your headaches keep returning, then you probably already know that medications and rubbing out the tension only offer a temporary fix.
This post was featured in the February 2015 edition of our e-zine, THE PREMIER ADVISOR. You can view the full edition here and/or subscribe here.