Understanding The Cause of Your Headaches
For anyone who has chronic headaches, finding the root cause of the pain can feel a lot like locating the lost city of Atlantis. The cause is elusive at best, more like a fictional concept than an actuality. It can drive you crazy, sending your mind down various rabbit holes of possibility, and making everything you do suspect.
One of the hardest parts about headaches is that, for most of us, there isn't necessarily one cause, but a myriad of intersecting factors. Each component of the puzzle plays its part, weakening your body's ability to tolerate stressors, and thereby causing your body to sound the alarm.
For me, this has meant adopting a holistic approach to my life. I am striving to create a whole lifestyle that minimizes the impact of all the contributing factors, in turn raising my overall headache threshold.
When I say threshold, I mean the point at which your body sounds the alarm and creates a pain response. The more resilient your body is, the better able it is to handle stressors and demands without relying on pain. In my experience, I have found that I can do this through things like diet, exercise, sleep, and natural remedies.
Any number of things can be at work with your headaches. Anything from stress to dehydration to lack of sleep to poor diet- the list goes on and on, and each factor impacts the others in unique ways. The easiest way to deal with a headache is to prevent it, and prevention can become possible with a really healthy lifestyle.
If you're anything like me, this causes instant anxiety, because I'm a pretty healthy person already, and there's just no way to be perfect all the time. I totally get it, and there's no denying that it takes an enormous amount of effort to even strive towards that perfection. We are all already exhausted, so this is asking a lot.
The best way to move forward is to address one area at a time, and give yourself permission to be a work in progress. The first thing to do is keep a Headache Log, in order to gather some important data and give yourself a starting point of reference. Once you have the data, you can begin evaluating your situation and creating a plan of action.
And one quick word about where to get started. I am not a doctor, but I want to mention something important to keep in mind. I believe the single greatest area of impact is diet, and I will tell you why.
If there is even the slightest possibility that something in your food is giving you headaches, then you're going to continue having headaches no matter what you try. Food sensitivities and allergies cannot be remedied with an ambivalent approach. "Cutting back" will not cut it, because exposure to an allergen means that the problematic substance can stay in your system for weeks. Weeks, y'all. This means that one nibble of garlic bread can easily rob you of an entire month of your life.
It's a lot to consider, so don't panic. Many have gone before you, and there are so many great resources out there to help along the way.
You can totally do this. We'll take it one step at a time, and get you on the road towards healing.