by Caroline von Fluegge-Chen
Headaches are one of the most common health concerns. At any one time, 15% of the population is experiencing head pain. Migraines are particularly intense headaches often associated with flashing lights or other visual disturbances, some altered sensations, sensitivity to light, sound and motion and severe head pain. Migraines involve a constriction and dilation of blood vessels of the brain. People experiencing them may prefer a dark room where they can lie down.
A common cause of headaches may be subluxation. Subluxations interfere with your nervous system and may cause head pain in a number of ways. If the nerves that cover your head and scalp, which exit between the upper segments of your spine, become irritated then headaches may result.
The response of your body to subluxations is to tighten muscles to protect and attempt to correct this malfunction. These muscles tighten locally, in the area of the subluxation, and also up and down the length of your spine. If the muscles which attach into the base of your skull remain tight over a long period of time, waste products build up. This can result in pain at the back of your head which, when severe, can be referred into the front of your head. In this way subluxations in virtually any region of your spine may cause head pain.
Your nervous system regulates the diameter of your blood vessels. Irritation to nerves, particularly from upper spinal subluxations, affects the blood vessels of your brain, and can result in migraine headaches.
An excess of toxins or “free radicals” in your body is a common cause of headaches. Alcohol, drugs, certain foods and additives cause high levels of toxins in your body. Toxins can cause migraines by irritating the small muscles which control the diameter of the brain’s blood vessels. People who suffer from migraines typically have long lists of foods which they are sensitive to and avoid. Common irritant foods include tea, coffee, chocolate, citrus fruits, dairy products and certain alcoholic drinks.
One of the challenges in determining which foods or substances you are sensitive to is that the effect of toxic foods is cumulative; irritant foods may not produce a headache or trigger a migraine every time you eat them.
The level in your body at which the cumulative toxic build-up produces headaches or migraines. This is controlled by your nervous system. Toxins trigger migraines and headaches, but your nervous system controls your tolerance to them.
In the first example above “coffee” would have appeared to be the causative food as it was the last thing consumed. However, if the other foods had not been eaten, coffee alone may not have had a great enough effect. Similarly, if the order of the foods had been different, “red wine” may have been labeled the cause.
When attempting to decide whether a certain food is “toxic” to your body or not, also consider the chemicals that may have been introduced during production or the manufacturing process. For example, many people are sensitive to instant coffee, even decaffeinated coffee, but they can drink brewed organic coffee without noticing adverse effects. For them it is not the coffee but the additives during manufacture which they are most sensitive to. Observing the foods you eat and subsequent effects will help you discover the foods or additives to which you are sensitive.
Spinal subluxation can interfere with the nerves which supply your liver and kidneys, the organs primarily responsible for clearing toxins from your body. Your tolerance for the foods your body is sensitive to can be further compromised.
Emotional stress causes all of the muscles in your body to tighten, which will aggravate the effects of spinal subluxations. Stress also causes toxins to be produced, often in very large amounts, adding considerably to your “toxic load.”
Other causes of head pain such as tumors, infections, etc., exist but are much more rare. Many people experience headaches as they eliminate a heavy toxic load, or as they become better at cleansing their body of toxins.
Like any symptoms, headaches and migraines are often a sign that your body is not working well, or that you have not been nurturing yourself. Aim to keep your diet as pure and simple as possible and avoid foods you may be sensitive to. Chiropractic care helps to keep your nervous system free of interference from subluxations. This helps effective nerve function and can enable your body to more efficiently cleanse itself of toxic substance.
Covering your symptoms with pain relieving medicines will not remove the cause of your headaches or migraines and will add to your body’s level of toxins.