• Dr. Sara Vivona

What Your Headache is Telling You


There are many, many causes of headaches and you MUST find the reason for the headache if you truly want to fix it and prevent future headaches. Headaches are an alarm going off, telling you that there is a serious problem with your body. By taking medications to mask the pain (alarm) you're allowing the problem to grow and become more severe.

Types of headaches

Migraine: The term migraine is widely misused. It is not connected with the severity of the headache, but instead it is related to blood flow. A true migraine occurs when something interferes with the normal circulation of blood to the brain. There are several direct nerve involvements, lymphatic drainage and altered motions of the skull bones that influence the migraine headache. Migraines typically are one sided, throbbing and get worse when the pressure on the blood vessels in the brain are changed. (ie. Bending over, changing position, exercise) Many people also will also experience visual disturbances, smell disturbances, sound disturbance and/or nausea.

Toxic: Anything that is poisonous to the body will cause a toxic headache. It can be external or internal in nature, meaning anything a person could come in contact with or any reaction or byproduct produced inside the body. External poisons, such as cleaners, pesticides, perfumes are pretty easy to identify because the headache develops shortly after exposure.

The internal poisons are harder to recognize and should be identified by one of the doctors here at IHWC. Improper function of the elimination organs (liver, kidney, intestines) will cause absorption and recirculation of toxins in the blood and can result in toxic headaches. Correction of the malfunctioning organs will eliminate the headache. Infections can also cause toxic headaches as well. Parasite and fungus infections are notorious for releasing toxins that can cause awful headaches as well as nausea and fatigue.

Digestive: With digestive headaches, the bowels are unable to breakdown food appropriately. This allows food to rot and putrefy. If this is absorbed by the body it will act as a poison. Overall, digestive headaches are very similar to toxic headaches, however, treatment is focused on returning normal digestive function to the bowel through the use of enzymes, probiotics and toxin binding supplements.

Allergic: This type of headache is due to an abnormal immune reaction to something in the air or food. This will then cause swelling around the brain just as it causes swelling in the nose, eyes and throat. Treatment should not just include avoidance of the allergen, but also determine what caused the body to become sensitive to the allergen. What is causing this hypersensitivity reaction of the immune system? Most of the time when the function of the body is improved, the allergy disappears.

Tension (suboccipital neuralgia): A headache at the base of the skull that can expand and cover other areas of the head, is often known as a “tension headache”. This headache is actually caused by the irritation of the suboccipital nerves at the base of the skull due to a problem with the muscles and bones of the neck. This nerve irritation is intensified with stress, which is where the term “tension headache” came from. Treatment for this type of headache is primarily neuromuscular focused, with the intent of understanding why the muscles are pulling the bones of the head and neck wrong.

Sinus: Inflammation of the sinuses can occur from many reasons and can cause a headache located in the forehead, around the eyes and near the nose. Allergies and infections are a well-known cause of sinus inflammation. However, there are other common causes that are not well known. Poor elimination of toxins by the bowel, kidney, and liver can cause sinus inflammation too.

Muscular Strain: Muscles can pull on the skull bones inappropriately which will cause headaches. For example, pain behind the eye is the hallmark symptom for the pterygoid muscles in your mouth being strained and pulling the skull wrong. You can also have pain on the side of your head due to a trigger point in the temporalis muscles. As well as pain near the eyebrow due to the occipitalfrontalis muscle.

How do you know which type of headache you have?

Schedule an exam with one of our doctors! He or she will be looking extensively at your organ function, neurological integrity and bony and muscular alignment. From that exam, your doctor will determine the underlining cause of your headache and which treatment is necessary. Check out more information on our treatments here.

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