Understanding and Overcoming Headaches

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Understanding and Overcoming Headaches

We all know how much a visiting headache can disrupt our daily lives and hold us back from being our best selves. Even it is a simple common headache or a headache resulting from a more severe health issue. Headaches affect our wellbeing and are often a sign of a need to pay attention to our body. Understanding and overcoming headaches are what we need to invest time on.

According to the World Health Organisation, a staggering 47% of adults worldwide experienced a headache in a given year. More concerning is that headaches are often poorly treated and misunderstood.


The four most common types of headaches are:

1. A tension-type headache:

Often caused by stress these types of headaches come and go.

2. A Cluster headache:

A much less common form of a headache. With longer-lasting intense pain, often experienced with burning or piercing pain behind the eyes.

3. A sinus headache:

Usually this headache occurs alongside sinus symptoms and is brought on by inflamed sinuses.

4. A migraine headache:

These reoccurring headaches last from a few hours to a few days. The symptoms associated with this headache including, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite and sensitivity to light, noise or smells.


Potential causes of headaches are extensive and vary significantly in nature including lifestyle factors, genetics, dental issues, muscular tensions, hormonal issues, health-related factors, and even reactions to chemicals found in personal and household products.

Poor Diet

While the exact correlation between poor dietary choices and migraines will differ for each person, there is no questioning the importance of a balanced, whole foods based diet. This diet focuses on natural and unprocessed foods including citrus foods, shellfish, legumes and nuts. By focusing on a whole foods diet, common ‘trigger foods’ will be eliminated including alcohol, processed meats, chocolates, cheese and yoghurts and foods containing histamine, tyramine, and monosodium glutamate (MSG’s).

A diet enriched with whole foods combined with an active lifestyle, adequate hydration, good sleep, and positive mental and spiritual health is likely to significantly improve your health and well-being, preventing the onset of unwanted headaches.

Understanding and Overcoming Headaches- Poor Diet

A Hidden Dental Issue

Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ) is commonly mistaken for headaches with even health care providers often failing to identify pain as being TMJ related. Tracking your symptoms and consulting a medical professional can assist in ensuring an adequate diagnosis. While TMJ related pain can trigger a migraine, TMJ related headaches are usually never experienced alongside other headache-related symptoms.

Side Effects of Medications

Many commonly prescribed medications have headaches as a listed potential side effect. Some of the most common medications known to have this side effect include:

  • Atorvastatin – Cholesterol lowering medication
  • Perindopril – Control high blood pressure
  • Rosuvastatin – Cholesterol lowering medication
  • Amlodipine – Blood pressure lowering drug
  • Paracetamol – Painkiller

Understanding and Overcoming Headaches- Medications


Trigger Points

Trigger points are hyperirritable spots in the skeletal muscle associated with taut bands of muscle fibres. Commonly known to be a cause of headaches and are activated by a range of factors including acute, chronic or toxic overload, direct trauma, spinal problems, deficiencies, or activation by other trigger points.

Chemicals in the Home

Perhaps most unknown to people is that causes of headaches may exist within the home environment. Many homes and personal care products contain harmful ingredients that are known to cause health complications including headaches. These products include:

  • Household cleaners
  • Personal care products
  • Make-up
  • Toilet paper, tampons and tissues

Even products advertised as “green” or “natural” may in fact still contain harmful ingredients so be careful not to be persuaded by the “greenwashing” of goods.

To test if any of the products in your home are harmful visit the Environmental Working Group Website and search their extensive database of products.

Understanding and Overcoming Headaches- Chemicals


It is no surprise that most people attempt to hide headaches by taking Neurofen. This can be harmful and ineffective in the long-term as it takes attention away from the cause of the problem itself. Your body is not telling you that it is in need of Neurofen.  In fact, it is informing you of a need for more self-care or of an underlying health problem. If you believe a health issue is causing the headaches, then consult a medical professional to help determine the underlying cause.


The text above is an excerpt from an ebook entitled “The Ultimate Headache and Migraine Guide” written by Stephen Hooper.  Author of other titles including Body by Design (2002)and The Performance Pyramid (2016).


Claudia Beck is a writer with a passion for health and food currently living in Perth, Australia.

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