Headaches are so common it’s really hard to believe. The term “normal headache” can be heard every day of the week and in every setting. Unfortunately for the people who tend to say those words, there is no such thing as a normal headache. Yes, there are different types: migraine, tension, cluster, sinus, etc. and some people experience them on a regular or frequent basis. But they all result from a trigger/problem and none of them are “normal” which would mean the headache indicates all systems are functioning properly. What is “normal” is to feel good and have no headaches.
The specific kind of headache for this blog entry is that of the TENSION type. There are numerous potential causes including stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, subluxations (misalignments or abnormal motion) of the cervical spine, and plenty of other possible causes. It’s a regular occurrence in our clinic for patients to experience a reduction or complete cessation of their headaches once they begin getting adjusted. As we normalize how the spine (especially the neck) functions, the headaches no longer occur.
Now, if you’ve been a patient in our clinic, you know that I take a rounded approach to health and don’t believe putting all the eggs into one basket is at all appropriate. Virtually every patient is given exercises, instructions for modifying certain activities, and/or some nutritional guidance in addition to being adjusted. As I just mentioned, lower stress along with enough water and rest are important and are beneficial for most aspects of health but for many conditions there are key nutrients that can be used effectively as treatment.
It’s mid-year 2017 and everyone knows vitamin D is very important. Over the past couple of decades it has commanded a lot of attention as a result of numerous studies that show its value in keeping us well. The attached article about new research explains that many people who experience tension headaches also have low serum vitamin D levels. This was not a huge study, nor were there a dozen studies to verify the findings but it’s no surprise that low blood levels could be associated with headaches. We already know the correlation between vitamin D and bone density, cancer prevention, mood, good immune function, and more. These days many doctors routinely include vitamin D in their standard blood workup for all patients. It would be terrific if supplementing with vitamin D eliminated these headaches for lost of suffering people. When taken appropriately, many nutrients can be used as medicine and not merely like a preventive measure the way most people might take a multi vitamin.
Can you sense a “but…” coming here? Here it is. Headaches, like all other symptoms are little alarms saying something is wrong. In a very simple world, that might mean you have ONE subluxation in your neck and if we can relieve the stress caused by adjusting it, your problem would be gone. That’s not how things work in the complex bodies we have with trillions of cells. If your vitamin D level is low, other blood constituents are also out of balance. Vitamin D has an intricate relationship with many other vital blood components and if we raise one level with no consideration of other factors, we are risking problems and not giving our health the attention it needs for years of vibrant, illness-free living. This is the reason we offer the comprehensive blood workup so many of our patients get. It’s better to have a well rounded picture of our current health than to just start dosing on vitamin D to hopefully solve our headache issue. And even though this study reported in Life Extension’s newsletter (first reported in the journal Headache, May 3, 2017) is specific to tension headaches, people with any type of headache are likely to think it will work for them. Well, there are much worse things than that and since we are all individuals, it might actually work for some of those people. There will always be more research to do and new correlations will always be discovered. Still, the bottom line is that it’s worth your weight in gold to be tested thoroughly for organ function, nutrient deficiency, and toxic chemical burden the way we do in our office.
Harris Meyer, DC
Body Focus Health Center
100 Bush St., Ste. 530, San Francisco, CA 94104