My History with Headaches
I’ve had headaches since my childhood. They started in elementary school, and I would always feel them in my forehead. My mother told me it was a sign of hunger. So, my first treatment for headaches was to eat when I had them. Most of the time a full day of childhood activity would keep my headaches from being noticed. At the same time, I couldn’t breathe through my nose and was prescribed allergy meds, which would put me to sleep in my classroom. So, I just accepted what I had and would live and with what I had.
The severity of the headaches started to increase when I was in middle school and high school. I would come home from school with a severe headache 2-3 times a week, always starting in the late afternoon and aspirin would not help. I would retreat into my bedroom immediately and would turn off the lights and rub my temples. I would imagine that as I rubbed my temples, I could see the lightning which caused my headaches to oscillate like a jump rope. This seemed to give me a sense of control over it. Having a sense of control over something that would run your life is a start to mastery.
Then I discovered showers might help with my headaches. I would stand under a shower for 30 minutes to an hour and then move slowly to a dark room and keep my head over my heart and wait for the headache to recede. In most cases this would work, or I had to wait until I could go to sleep.
Like most things, you live with them if you cannot change them and I have since then. After a while I had my rituals of always having aspirin or Ibuprofen, a shower, a room to lay down and giving it time. You are willing to try just about anything to make the pain of headaches stop, however I never felt like trying to find out why my headaches kept coming until quite late in my life.
The first contributing factor was that I noticed when I was off of wheat, I had less frequency of headaches and if I ate wheat, I would have a headache the next day. This not only helped my headaches, but it also affected my sinuses and I could breathe through my nose for the first time in my life. I was 34 years old. If you can imagine having something for your whole life and the answer was that simple, then you could understand how remarkable that was to finally know. Although, that wasn’t the complete fix.
A different kind of headache began. This time my headache came in the mornings, nothing would slow it down and only exhaustion and sleep would give it any relief. It would get progressively worse as the day went and then it would wake me up while I was asleep. I would have to get out of bed and pace the room and feel the pain never let up and take me to heights of pain that I found hard to imagine worse. Sometimes they were from recent wheat consumption, but most of the time not. I would get chills and waves of lightheadedness and would have to push through the day and keep myself busy as a way of distraction. Then I discovered why when I was 10 years into my chiropractic practice. It was emotional.
I noticed that my headaches occurred after a confrontation that I tried to avoid at any cost. I had not developed skills of confrontation other than avoidance, obfuscation, vagueness and minimizing. These could be simple confrontations such as speaking my truth or to seek clarifications with the many people in my life. It really wasn’t the confrontations themselves but the “hangover” the next day after they had happened.
This caused me to self-examine myself and the only solution was for me to stop ruminating on the reactions of others-thinking over all the possible scenarios of the confrontations in my mind. Then it caused me to examine my truth in these situations and to take the time to know what I wanted and where my boundaries were. I would stop myself from the ruminations and let go of the control I did not have. This stopped the days and weeks of putting my mind at stress with the stories of disaster I told myself would happen to only having a few moments of stress and then the next level of headaches was gone, or so I thought.
After solving all my headache causes, I had one more left. I was in a seminar in Las Vegas when a severe headache started. The seminar was for advanced muscle testing and the instructor who taught me a majority of what I know tried to help. He informed me I was dehydrated. I really found this hard to believe and since I was drinking water during the day. I had to leave to fly home and was dreading the flight with this headache that was becoming worse. I snuck off and had a fellow student test me and he found it was dehydration as well. I had no NSAIDs with me and I had no time to rest. I bought 2 liters of water and started to drink. It is hard to drink that much water when your head wants to explode but I did it continuously until I boarded the plane. I took my Ibuprofen and hoped for the best. Then as I was up to a gallon and a half of water a miracle happened! My headache just went away! I had never had that experience in my life.
I wanted to write about this because I do know what it is like to have headaches and to share the struggle that you may have. Even though I have had some solutions I had to figure it out myself, not as an educated doctor but as a person with a problem. Many patients these days have chronic problems and seek help to no avail. We have access to so much information and have many names and causes to things that we know rationally or academically but suffering remains.
The gift of the headache is it is a guide to something is wrong. It taught me that wheat or what I eat is a cause. It taught me to know myself better than to try to figure out others and it taught me that water is medicine.
I do not know the cause of all headaches but I can tell you that you can figure it out if you take the time and trust yourself in the process. If you suspect something, try it out. It is better to be fooled than to fear being fooled by an honest effort. Sometimes the answers are right there.