Individuals who commonly deal with frequent headaches unfortunately become used to canceling plans, having to leave work early, using up their sick days and saying no to activities they previously loved.
It’s easy to see how frequent negativity surrounding chronic headaches can steal your quality of life. Many sufferers have no halo, premonition or warning of any kind. This sudden onset creates a certain amount of havoc and stress on its own. For example, being struck while driving a car or operating heavy machinery or equipment at your workplace can become instantly debilitating.
Uncertainty vs. triggers
It can be difficult to say “yes” to upcoming plans; particularly those that involve driving yourself or loved ones anywhere. Loud, crowded venues are often a trigger for many who live with chronic headaches. Additional triggers may include food sensitivities and allergies to substances like aspartame and MSG. Fragrances are another key element that set people off. If they are exposed to a perfume counter or someone walks by who smells like a perfume counter, chaos can ensue.
The depression connection
Individuals who are prone to anxiety may obsess on the negative impact their headaches have on their lives. Not surprisingly, studies indicate that those who suffer from chronic headaches are more likely to experience depression. It can be difficult to describe how it feels when your head is trapped in the vise-like grip of a debilitating headache when you are speaking to someone who has never experienced it. Taking over-the-counter pain medication regularly comes with its own health concerns, which includes creating a condition called Medication Overuse Headaches in which symptoms increase in frequency from using pain pills too often.
Developing a headache can been seen as just an excuse to leave work early or can force you to use up all of your sick days if your boss does not believe you or understand headache culture. Consider getting a note from your doctor if there is any question as to whether your chronic headaches are legitimate. Explain to your boss that you are on a mission to get symptom free.
Keep a food journal
Trying to find out if there are specific triggers you can avoid will help you immensely if you discover that your headaches are directly related to the exposure of a certain substance. Some people will say that they experience a guaranteed headache after eating or drinking certain foods. Pay attention and the next time you have a headache, write down everything you have ingested within the last 24 hours. See if any pattern emerges.
Don’t give up hope
The main thing is that you don’t give up hope. If you have tried these suggestions in the past and have not found relief from chronic headaches there is another cutting-edge avenue of treatment that you should be aware of.
TMJ related headaches
Could your chronic headaches be the result of a bite force imbalance or jaw misalignment? Absolutely. If there are problems in your mouth, excess pressure can be exerted that radiates through your head and impacts your temporomandibular joints (TMJ), the joints that attach the jawbone to the skull. This can lead to your jaw becoming extremely painful. The body often misreads this TMJ pain as a headache or migraine. If you have tried numerous treatments for your headaches in the past but have been unable to get relief, this may be the reason. Only a specially-trained dentist like Dr. Jared Ward at Fort Collins Headache Center can effectively treat this condition.
In a similar fashion, many people are unaware that they grind their teeth on a daily basis until their dentist informs them. This may seem surprising, but in many cases the grinding only happens during sleep. If you catch yourself clenching your jaw the next time you are angry or emotional, this may be a sign that you are a grinder. This condition, which is known as bruxism, can also damage the TMJ and lead to headaches. Again, you will need expert treatment like the kind provided at Fort Collins Headache Center to alleviate headaches of this variety.
Book a consultation exam with Dr. Ward today to see if you are a candidate for our breakthrough TruDenta therapy. If you are, we will create a treatment plan for you that will have you symptom free with just 12 or fewer weekly visits. Call Fort Collins Headache Center at 970-672-8517 or use the contact form on this page. We look forward to hearing from you.