10 Things You Didnít Know About Headaches

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Sarah Jio via Woman's Day

Oh, the dreaded headache. The pounding. The tension. The pain. Whether you’re plagued with regular headaches or only get one every once in a while (let’s hope for the latter), we’ve rounded up the most interesting—and surprising—facts about headaches in general, along with smart tips on treating and preventing them.

1. A trip to the dentist, not the doctor, could solve your headache issues. If you get frequent, unexplained headaches, you may want to talk to your dentist about it at your next cleaning. “I suffered from awful headaches for many, many years,” says Gretchen Anderson, 48, a reader in Eagle, Idaho. “After medical tests and a battery of drugs I learned the cause: jaw clenching in the middle of the night. I had cracked a molar in the back of my mouth and my dentist asked if I was having headaches. Duh!” After her dentist fitted her with a mouth guard, and she began practicing jaw relaxation exercises before bed, Anderson says she was finally free of her headaches.

2. You may be able to ward off a morning headache by eating a bedtime snack. Do you have a snack before bed? If you tend to get headaches in the morning hours, you might consider eating a light snack shortly before you snooze. “A possible cause of headaches, especially first morning headaches, can be low blood sugar that occurs overnight,” explains Donna Hedgepeth, DC, DACCP, a chiropractor practicing in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Simply having a snack closer to bedtime that includes some protein can be of relief.” Some suggestions: cottage cheese with diced fruit, a small bowl of cereal with milk, a slice of lowfat cheese and a cracker.

3. Acupuncture may zap your headache once and for all. A brand-new study from researchers at the University of Rochester found that acupuncture may elicit a neurotransmitter called adenosine that can numb nerve cells and bring natural pain relief. “Acupuncture is extremely effective in both short-term and long-term treatments for headaches and migraines,” says Kristen Burris, an Idaho-based acupuncturist. “Acupuncture, when compared with flunarizine, a commonly used migraine medication, proved to be more effective in reducing the frequency of migraine occurrences in the first four months of therapy. Acupuncture also significantly lowered the intensity of pain.”

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Less caffeine helps me! Report
I have had migrains since I was around 8 yrs old. I would get sicker than a dog and they would last sometimes for days. No reasons were ever found except that my mother had them also. I have taken many medications over the years and nothing worked. In 2006 I had a MRI test on my spinal cord (suggested by PT) and they found that my neck spinal cord was now to only 3 mg or less in places. I have the surgery and now only have a bad headache or migrain a few times a years rather than a couple of times a week. Report
I had migraine headaches most of my life. A dr told me years that I would have to live with them because anything they tried to give me only made me sick to my stomach and I just brought it back up. About 20 years ago my grandson had the same thing. My daughter was told it is heritity. have learned over the years that if I stay away from certain foods and chemicals in the foods when I do get a headach it is not as bad. Report
If I take a tylenol or a motrin for migraine headaches, it works like a charm. I do not suffer from headaches much. Report
I get sinus headaches. A 1-2 punch of a decongestant with aspirin always works for me with them. Report
I can't get past a caffeine-deprivation headache, so I ration my caffeine intake. I drink gallons of water but need my caffeine, too. I tried weaning off but after 3 weeks clean, still could not deal with the blinding headaches, so back to caffeine, but in moderation. When prepping for hysterectomy surgery, the nurse added caffeine to my IV! She said they'd discovered many post-op headaches weren't caused by the anesthetics but by caffeinated folks having gone too long without caffeine.

After I had heart tests done last fall and had to forego caffeine, meds, food, etc, my DD greeted me with an icy cold Diet Coke, bless her heart. She also had hot food, but lol, I didn't need the food as much as my caffeine and regular meds.

I also discovered I can unwittingly give myself a headache when my arthritis is at its worst and I clench my jaws. I also tend to hold my breath and breathe terribly when in severe pain (probably messing up the flow of oxygen to my brain), so am trying to train myself to be more aware, breathe slowly and unclench my poor jaws. Usually, the sudden headache is my first clue. I am really lousy about body awareness.

Great guest blog. Thanks, SP. Report
I had the most terrible headache and ran the methods mentioned above. I went to a Neurologist that said put your finger in your ears and yawn WOW that did it and then he sent me to a dentist that specializes in mouth guards.
The headaches went away (don't chew gum!!!) and I still wear it every night (over 25 years) Report
Yoga eases tension .... reduced my headaches by more than 80%! Report
One that I didn't see listed was.... Get your eyes checked! My headaches are triggered by vision. Report
Thanks to menopause, I was getting splitting migraines. Magnesium & a B-complex helped remarkably. They didn't eliminate 'em entirely, but made life certainly more bearable. Report
Fruits and vegetables always make my headaches go away Report
Thanks for this blog. Report
I used to have a headache every morning. My dentist recommended a bite guard at night, but even that didn't help. He finally took a look at my bite while SITTING UP in the dentist chair - not laying back - and discovered that my bite wasn't quite right. It took two tries to adjust my bite, but I haven't suffered from those headaches for over three years now! Report
I used to get headaches all day long all the time until my Dr. put me on Singulair for my allergies and then I haven't had headaches for a long time. I tell everyone how good it works. I mostly have pollen and mold allergies. Report
I used to get headaches regularly and my Dr. tried putting me on chronic pain medication. I only took one. The side effects were worse than the headaches. Later I discovered a major cause of headaches is overusing OTC pain meds, in my case Tylenol. I never took more than the recommended dosage, but a person can become dependent on it simply by taking it regularly. I quit cold turkey. The first week was the hardest (Exercise and drinking a lot of water helps). After and now I rarely experience headaches! Report
SparkPeople helped me get most of my headaches and migraines under control. Staying hydrated, tracking my food, and limiting my portions as well as eating more nutritious foods really had an impact on reducing my headaches! Thanks!
Jocelyn Report
Several members in my family have a sensitivity to caffeine, which causes headaches and migraines for them regularly if they even have a piece of chocolate. Once they cut out the caffeine and substituted with things like herbal tea, they are fine. Report
I've started getting headaches from tea. It doesn't happen every time, and it happens both with hot tea and green tea flavoring packets, but when it does it hits within five minutes of drinking the tea. Usually I can then drink a ton of water and flush the headache out.

I've suffered from headaches since 3rd grade and migraines since I was 16. I think that the most frustrating thing is that what causes a migraine/headache one day might not cause it the other 9/10 times you consume/smell/etc the item. I have to say that since becoming a vegetarian, losing weight and guzzling water each day, my head pain is much more rare. Report
I know how you feel with the headaches. I went to the dentist for a mouth fitting and then I found it to be too expensive. I went to Walmart and bought a similar kit that you put in to hot water and then into your mouth. This works really good. It also helped my sinus problem. Thanks for the article. Report
This is so right! I have had both problems of low blood sugar in the waking hours and then I was tested for sleep apnea and found I grind my teeth significantly. Not sure if either is the true culprit for my headaches, but this info is essential.
Wish I'd known years ago. Report
I had frequent headaches as well- primarily due to the alignment of my upper vertebrae. Since I started seeing a chiropractor, they only come every few months, and a visit to the chiro has an immediate positive impact on the strength & duration. Report
I used to have a headache pretty much every day of my life in my late teens/early 20's, not suprisingly when my eating and lifestyle habits were at their worst. When I cleaned up my diet and started exercising, they gradually went away, to the point where I get one maybe 3 times a year now. Also, I can tell the cause of every headache: hormonal, dehydration, trigger points in my occipital ridge. Report
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