by Dr. Mark Wiley
Chronic headaches and migraines are horrible. When it comes to planning to relieve and prevent them that works, and sticking with it, you must also avoid the pitfalls. When it comes to a subject as complex as headaches and migraines, one’s understanding must be clear and to have clarity they must separate myth from fact.
When it comes to complex pain conditions like headaches and migraines, the pain and symptoms can wreak havoc on a life. As a person suffering from headaches, you know how difficult it can be to maintain your quality of life, your daily routines, your cheery disposition and positive outlook. This is especially true during times of extreme pain and immobility. Please know and believe me when I say, “severe pain, immobility and negative outlook do not have to be the center of your life.” My book, Headaches Relieved, is based on 35 years of personal suffering and traveling the glob in search of relief from chronic headache pain. My program is highly effective, and receives rave reviews, as you can read here. I want you to stop suffering too.
Below I outline the most common myths surrounding headache and migraine. Please take your time as you read this chapter and consider each myth. For those myths you believe, be open to understanding the myths and then believing the facts. Let’s look at those myths, then throw them aside.
All Headaches Are the Same
One of the most pervasive myth of all is the notion that there is only one type of headache and migraine and it just happens to have different symptoms for different people. Some experience them as sinus pressure, some beginning with tension in the neck but regardless of how they begin they are all the same condition.
It is easy to see how people might think headaches are a single condition. After all, many headache types share common triggers, and they all have pain in the head as their main symptom. But the fact is, there are over 30 different types of headache and migraine; divided into primary and secondary types. Everyone gets headaches for different reasons and the same reason can trigger different headaches in different people. So just because you know someone who may also have chronic headaches doesn’t meant that what worked or failed for them will work or fail for you as well.
Just having basic clarity on this myth alone should provide you with some anxiety relief about the future potential of your headache-free life goal. Moreover, because headache is not a disease but a symptom of a problem, and those problems are varied and not all applicable to your situation, the future can become more clear as you read on in this book.
Simply knowing headaches are not a single disease, but various head-pain-related symptoms cause by imbalances within the body that can be managed and corrected with natural, non-invasive approaches should provide you with enough hope for change that you find almost immediate improvement in your daily outlook.
A Migraine Is Just a Bad Headache
Continuing our discussion in the above Myth, there are some 30 differently identified headaches. Migraine are among the worst and certainly take their toll. For many, just hearing the diagnosis “migraine” or assuming it, is enough to cause emotional stress, worry and depression about their future. The fact is, that headaches and migraines are different things. Migraine is a narrowly specific type of headaches based in temporary neurological dysfunction. Most headaches are not of this characteristic or share the same symptoms of aura, nausea, sweating, and prolonged pain for days.
Migraines are relatively rare when compared with tension type headaches, for example, which are due to muscle contraction around the shoulders and neck cause referred pain to the head. By putting to bed the myth that migraines are the same as a bad headache will give you relief in your outlook and expectation.
Only Women Get Migraines
While it is true that more women than men get migraines, they are not limited to women. The fact is that anyone can experience a migraine, including children. The statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO) show that migraine strike 18% of women, 8% of men, and 10% of children. It is a myth to believe that only women get migraines, but they are series and need be treated so keep an open mind and read on and see how to distinguish whether you, personally, are experiencing migraines or other types of headaches. The good news is that the Headache Relief Acton Plan address all types of headaches.
Headache Are a Normal Part of Life
It is easy to see how this myth (and similar ones relating to health) took hold. A simple look around at the people around you, the commercials on television and the shelves in pharmacies seems to hammer home the idea that “everyone” gets headaches. While this may be an accurate assessment, it is not a “truth” that headaches are a normal or natural part of life.
To begin correcting this myth it is important to know that headaches are symptoms and, therefore, have nothing to do with any “normal” part of life. Most headaches are simply the result of a combination of poor lifestyle choices. That is to say, they are triggered by things like our diet, level of exercise, sleep patterns, stress levels, posture, use of chemical cleaners in the home, how often we drink alcohol, and many others. By changing your lifestyle choices, altering your activities in daily life, you can reduce the triggers and stop the headache cycles.
If You Have Headaches, You Should Not Exercise
This is a myth most believed by those suffering the headaches because, well, it hurts a lot to exercise when you have a headache. Also, when you have chronic migraines, the days in between episodes can be filled with rest to recuperate your energy. So exercise is the last thing headache people think about. While it is true that depending on your headache and migraine type and conditions certain exercises should be avoided, like jumping and running, but this is not a blanket statement about all forms of exercise.
The first step is to begin exercising slowly, lightly and with limits so as not to worsen or aggravate the conditions. Moving each joint slowly at first helps lubricate the joints and moving the limbs in all directions helps restore range of motion and loosens muscles. When done slowly but steadily on a schedule, exercise helps move blood and oxygen through the body, thus reducing triggers from muscle trigger points, and tight tendons, which reduce blood flow and quality.
Exercises like walking, yoga, tai chi, and qigong, even Pilates are good for those who get headaches. The more you can do, slowly at first and more over time, the more you can increase your vitality and reduce certain headache and migraine triggers.
The very opposite of this myth is true and people who experience chronic headaches can usually attribute them to a time and place. In my own personal experience, I would get headaches in some department stores but not in others; when getting off airplanes; right before or after a rain storm; or extremely humid days or in damp basements; every time I was in a room that was cleaned with PineSol or Pledge; and almost every day I spend in over-crowded third-world tropical cities in SE Asia.
All of these have an environmental issue in play that includes air quality (i.e., pressure, humidity, pollution), the ratio of negative to positive ions in the atmosphere, the quantity of toxic chemicals used to clean clothing or surfaces you normally come into contact with, the relative stuffiness and heat of a room, and the type of lighting used to illuminate a work, shopping or living space.
Flickering fluorescent lights, perfumes, dust, pollution, humidity and too many positive ions in the air are all potential migraine triggers. Many migraineurs complain that they either feel better or worse around a thunderstorm. This happens for several reasons including that humidity levels change (for better or worse, depending on temperature), which affects headaches, and also that negative ions are increased after a rain fall. The higher the concentration of positive ions and levels of relative humidity, the greater the changes of a migraine triggering.
One meta-analysis looked at Impact of Air Pollution on Migraines and Headaches and concluded: “Available evidence supports the idea of a positive association between levels of some outdoor air pollutants and increased severity, frequency or medical consultation rates for headache and Migraine. These effects occur across the spectrum of headache severity, ranging from increased frequency or duration of headaches that do not prompt medical consultation to an increase in the occurrence of more severe headaches that result in ED (emergency department) visits and even hospitalization. This suggests that pollutants are environmental irritants that right-shift the severity curve in the headache-susceptible population.”
There’s No Cure for Headaches and Migraines
This myth is harmful and holds people hostage to the false idea that they have to live in pain. It’s total crap so please do not give it power over you. Yet this huge myth that is widely believed. Why? Because many headache and migraine sufferers do live in pain, with chronic headaches and migraine episodes. They are suffering greatly, yet needlessly. Why? Because they don’t know all of the parts of the headache and migraine puzzle. Knowing them instills knowledge and knowledge provides the impetus and power for change.
By engaging in mind/body exercises to reduce stress, eating an anti-inflammatory diet, changing your work and home environment, exercising, taking proper supplementation, using therapeutic creams and seeing practitioners for complementary wellness visits, you can greatly reduce, and even prevent, the daily throbbing pain of headache and migraine. By following the Headache Relief Action Plan inflammation decreases, blood flow increases, muscle loosen, toxins are removed, the mind is relaxed and the body is able to return to its natural state of balance known as homeostasis. While it takes time and effort, and a lifestyle change, you do not have to live your life in debilitating pain just because you have headache and migraine.
To be honest with you, now at the age of 47 I do find myself with a headache now and again; even bad ones. Why? Because sometimes life gets in the way and outside pressures and triggers turn you around. Because I’m human, I also get complacent and a bit slack in my daily choices. I stay up too late, or consume too many food triggers in one day. But the good news is, I know each and every time that I am in control of the headaches and that they do not control me. How? Because I can identify in the moment the headache strikes exactly why it has come and what type it is. And I know exactly what to do to reduce the pain and symptoms of that specific headache and stop its movement into a bigger, stronger, longer headache. The information in the book Headaches Relieved, and especially the Headache Relief Action Plan explained within it, will show you, too.
The notion that chronic headaches and migraines are a fixture and cannot be cured is one of the biggest myths of all. If most headaches can be prevented (all, but those happening because of injury or as a result of some other disease) then the cure if found in the methods of prevention. The problem is that the Western medical model does not see headaches in a holistic light. Please review the statistics and comments from the WHO, above. However, traditional and holistic medicines have natural methods for increasing bone density, rebuilding bone and regenerating soft tissue. In other words, a natural approach to reversing damage done by headache and migraine based on using supplements, topical creams and energy medicine. In the chapters that follow you will learn about these natural approaches and how they can help you.
Drugs are the only solution for “Managing” Headaches
This is the biggest myth of all because it is inculcated in the minds of physicians and patients from medical school to prime-time pain-pill product commercials. Over-the-counter and prescription painkillers are effective in providing headache patients with relief, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the only way to treat the pain caused by headaches. Also, these pills treat the pain, the symptom, and do nothing to change the root cause or trigger of the headaches themselves. And so the headaches return again and again on many other days.
Headache myths are as common as headaches themselves. The only way to debunk these myths is through education and personal experience. If you’re not sure if what you believe about headaches is true, consult a headache specialist to confirm. But when you can see the forest for the trees you will see, and feel, how changing your lifestyle, environment, choices and actions, thoughts and beliefs can have a tremendous effective on preventing headaches, reducing quantity and severity of headaches, and restoring your quality of life.
Stop believing these Headache Myths and embrace the Headache Relief Action Plan. The simple plan can turn your chronic headaches and migraines into a thing of the past, in 30 days! Learn more here.