3 Surprising Causes of Chronic Headaches and How To Cure Them Naturally
Approximately 8 percent of Canadians suffer from chronic headaches each year. That equates to 76,000 people in Ottawa. I have been lucky so far that I count the number of times I have had a severe headache on one hand. I have however seen many clients who have not been so fortunate who have suffered headaches everyday for sometimes years. There are many causes of chronic headaches that I could cover however in this article I want to describe some less well-known causes that I see in my functional medicine practice and how to get rid of them naturally.
1. Histamine Intolerance
Histamine is a chemical produced by your immune system when you are exposed to an allergen, such as grass pollens.
People with histamine intolerance become oversensitive to histamine due to an excess buildup in their bodies.
The most common reason for this build up is through the presence of gut infections including Parasites and SIBO.
Infections in your gut stimulate the production of histamine which then spreads throughout the body. Moreover, if you consume foods that are high in histamines, such as fermented foods, reheated meat, and tomatoes, this will further increase levels and worsen symptoms.
One of the most usual symptoms of histamine intolerance is chronic headaches. Other typical symptoms include anxiety, dizziness, heartburn, and hives.
If you suspect that histamine intolerance is the cause of your headaches I suggest the following steps:
- Cut down on your consumption of high histamine foods.
- If you feel better removing these foods then seek out a functional medicine practitioner or naturopathic doctor who is experienced in dealing with Histamine Intolerance and in particular identifying and treating SIBO and Parasite infection
2. Low Thyroid Function
One of the less well-known symptoms of low thyroid function is morning headaches. Other symptoms of low thyroid include fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, brittle nails and cold intolerance.
Low thyroid function is more common in women than men. The most common causes of low thyroid I see in my practice are Hashimoto’s Disease and SIBO.
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition that is often triggered by gluten and or casein (a protein found in dairy).
Low thyroid is often poorly diagnosed by doctors due to poor interpretation of blood test markers. If you suspect that low thyroid function might be the cause of your headaches I suggest the following action steps:
- Consult your family doctor and ask them to run a full thyroid panel. A full thyroid panel should include TSH, Free T4, Free T3, and Thyroid Peroxidase and Thyroglobulin antibodies. If your doctor is reluctant to run the full panel, then seek out a naturopathic doctor who can order these tests for a fee.
- If your doctor says your results appear within normal ranges, then find a Functional Medicine practitioner or Naturopathic Doctor, who are trained to look at thyroid blood markers from a more optimal perspective. If they see any abnormalities, they will then help you find the root of the problem.
- If you are unable to do either of the above, I suggest removing both gluten and dairy from your diet for two weeks to see if your symptoms resolve. If avoiding dairy and gluten helps you can try reintroducing each food on at a time to find out which foods trigger your symptoms.
3. Barometric Pressure Changes
If you live in Ottawa, you will be well aware that the weather can be very changeable and with this will come huge swings in barometric pressure.
For most people, this is just a way life, but for others, these swings in pressure can bring on headaches. Currently, there is no scientifically validated reason for people reacting to pressure changes.
That being said in my experience of treating people with weather-related headaches in the majority of cases there was an emotionally traumatic event that preceded the onset.
For example, one client developed headaches after a very stressful week at work during which there had been several thunderstorms over Ottawa.
If you suspect that your chronic headaches are triggered by barometric pressure changes I suggest the following steps:
- Think back to when you were first starting getting the headaches and try and remember what was going on in your life at that time and whether the weather was particularly changeable.
- If the answer is yes, then I suggest that your body has been conditioned to react to pressure changes, and I recommend you investigate some therapies that I have found useful in dealing with such issues. These treatments include Emotional Freedom Technique, Hypnotherapy and Natural Allergy Therapy.
This article in not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Now I would like to hear from you. Do you suffer from Headaches? What have you tried to help your symptoms? Let us know in the comments below.