Friday, February 7, 2014

What I'm Learning about Headaches and Vertigo: Part 2

(See Yesterday's Post for the beginning of this series)

I'm glad you're still interested in reading more. This had made such an impact on my life that I'm more than thrilled to share what has helped me and explain my journey.

The description for David Buchholz' book, “Heal Your Headache”, reads as follows:

Based on the breakthrough understanding that virtually all headaches are forms of migraine--because migraine is not a specific type of headache, but the built-in mechanism that causes headaches of all kinds, along with neck stiffness, sinus congestion, dizziness, and other problems--Dr. Buchholz's Heal Your Headache puts headache sufferers back in control of their lives with a simple, transforming program.

Honestly, the book cover wasn't appealing to me. The description of the 1-2-3 Program did not grab my attention either. But the content I read would change me from the inside out. I cried through half of what I read as it completely described my life! The headaches, vertigo, neck pain, occasional sinus issues, scent sensitivity, and more. And though the term migraine is spoken of often, one could be having symptoms (such as vertigo or sinus troubles) without ever experiencing the pain of the headache! He explains his theory on how everyone has a certain migraine threshold. We all have triggers that can leave us below or push us over that threshold (think barometric pressure, strong scents, stress, hormones, food, etc). Some people only rarely get headaches because either their threshold is really high or their triggers are comparatively low. The rest of us have low thresholds, a high quantity of triggers or both.

His first step involves removing medications that cause rebound headaches and other issues. Fortunately, I did not take many of these medications from the start of this process. My best friend (maybe not to my stomach) has always been ibuprofen. The third step involves specific types of medications to consider if the second step hasn't fully relieved you of the issues. The second step is where everything changed. He begins to explain common food triggers. I've seen these lists before but have never been able to confidently identify any triggers. He explains the reason most people can't identify these triggers is because they are never isolated. For example, one day, I have coffee at breakfast and carry on throughout my day with no issues. The next morning, after a night of little sleep and a change in weather patterns, I have coffee and have a headache within 30 minutes. I could assume that coffee is not a trigger because it didn't give me a headache yesterday. But I would be relying on faulty information. The coffee didn't give me a headache yesterday because my triggers were much lower and I never crossed the migraine threshold. Today, combined with the little sleep and a barometric pressure change, my triggers were higher and they landed me a headache.

This step has already transformed my life! He provides a rather extensive list of foods/drinks that must be avoided in the beginning of this process. He suggests cutting them as completely as possible for four months (I only did one month for various reasons). After that time, you may add one food back at a time, eating a great deal of it during a 3 days period and waiting to see if you have any symptoms reappear after it's reintroduction. This was extremely hard at first as the list was very, very difficult for me to adjust to. Eventually, I began to learn more of what I could and couldn't have and lived it out. I went WEEKS without a single headache or any vertigo issues! You have to understand that I normally have at least 5 or 6 headaches per week. This was definite progress!

But what happened next.......?

Come back tomorrow for my final post on this topic.

Until then...


katy said...

This is crazy Tera! I have struggled with migraines and dizziness for a long time. I am interested to see what foods you cut out!

The Santos Family said...

Katy, you'll definitely have to check the book out. I think it's helpful to have a good understanding of it all before just "cutting foods" so it's more comprehensive. Our local library carries the book as well so that's worth trying too.