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When Your head hurts

by Dr. Holly Carling
| November 17, 2010 8:00 PM

Headaches and migraines are so pervasive in society today that many people refer to headaches as a "normal headache." There is no such thing as a "normal headache." All headaches are red flags signaling that something is wrong. To ignore it or to take a medication for it is like putting a piece of duct tape over the warning indicator light in your car. True, you can no longer see the light/feel the headache, but the problem is still there. Without correction, things can get worse.

Obviously, if you have a headache that is so consuming that you can't function, use your medications, but don't stop there. So much can be done to identify the causative factors underlying the headache. After identifying it, there are many options to eliminating them, not just covering them up.

One major cause of headaches is stress. Stress is part of the "fight or flight" mechanism. Many chemical changes occur during this response causing changes in the blood vessels that can cause headaches. In addition to migraines, stress can cause chronic "tension" headaches that can interfere with the ability to concentrate, remember important details or simply cause fatigue.

Environmental factors can have an impact on head pain. Bright lights, flickering of fluorescent lights, televisions or computer monitors can trigger a headache. Noxious fumes such as turpentine, benzene, formaldehyde, carbon dioxide and even many perfumes can trigger a migraine. Headaches can be triggered by exertion such as straining, lifting or even bending. Weather changes are common triggers especially when there is a barometric change due to a weather front.

What is more important is to differentiate between causes and triggers. Most causes fall into 3 general categories:

Nutrition. Poor diet (junk food, processed foods, chemicalized foods) and diets low in quality nutrients underlie most of the causes of headaches and migraines. Vitamin, mineral and protein deficiencies predominate.

Toxicity. There are a multitude of environmental factors that can add up and stress the system, leading to a myriad of health conditions, and headaches are no exception.

Structural changes: Tight muscles, inflammation, swelling, spinal misalignment and pinched nerves all can contribute to headaches and migraines.

There are many effective, natural remedies that can reach deep into the causative factors. Learn about eliminating headaches and migraines at our upcoming health class, "Natural Solutions for Headaches & Migraines," on Wednesday, November 17th at 7pm at Vital Health & Fitness in CDA. Fee: $10. RSVP: 208-765-1994.

Dr. Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist. Dr. Carling offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d' Alene clinic. Visit Dr. Carling's website at www.vitalhealthandfitness.com to learn more. Dr. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994.

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