4 Hidden Causes of Headaches and Migraines

headacheHeadaches exist in a strange limbo in health care. Considering that they’re one of the most common health complaints in our culture, we’ve historically done a surprisingly poor job of fixing them. More often than not we suffer through them, or perhaps treat the symptoms, but we rarely address the causes.

Stress, fatigue and structural issues are an obvious and often visible source of headaches, but at the clinic we regularly tackle many other causes that tend to fly under the radar. Here are four you may not have considered.

1. Nutrient Deficiency
Deficiencies in many nutrients can cause headaches. With StoneTree patients, the biggest culprits are B12 and magnesium, but low levels of other nutrients can also cause problems.

We recently had a patient in the clinic who had a headache every day for 25 years. One Myers cocktail (IV treatment) to boost magnesium and the headaches vanished. Now, the patient can keep the headaches at bay with oral supplements, and an IV every six weeks.

2. Food Intolerance/Sensitivity
This is surprisingly common, and there’s much evidence to suggest that immune responses to the food you’re eating may be causing your pain.

We recently treated a mother and daughter who both had food intolerances, and both had chronic headaches. After four weeks of an elimination diet (removing the foods they were sensitive to), the mother’s headaches were 80% better and the daughter’s were gone completely.

3. Hormone Imbalance
Hormone imbalances are a frequent cause in women. Menstrual cycle fluctuations, menopause, and birth control pills can all affect estrogen and progesterone levels, which in turn can affect headache related chemicals in your brain.

Our clinical approach is generally to try to re-balance hormones using supplementation and herbs, and to assess for other underlying causes such as toxicity.

4. Toxicity
Toxicity can often cause or worse headaches. Your body has a remarkable ability to rid itself of toxins, but as toxins stack up – from our diet, our environment, or medications–the process of mobilizing those toxins and moving them out of the body can create headaches.

Ironically, many things that seem to help headaches in the short term, like caffeine or over the counter pain-killers, can actually make them worse in the long run by making you toxic.

If you’re struggling with unexplained headaches or migraines, you can book a complimentary meet-the-doctor visit here to find out if we can help.