Does it ever seem like your headaches show up at the most inconvenient times? Just as you are getting dressed to give a pitch, the evening you have a happy hour to connect with clients …or when you finally blocked out time for a much needed vacation to Hawaii.
Why does this happen and how can you stop this frustrating pattern?
There are two key approaches that I teach: what to do in the short term to get relief and then how to start developing more resilience to these stressful situations.
First, you have to realize that a headache is your body’s protest that there is too much stress and chaos going on inside. And I don’t just mean the stress of being cut off in traffic or getting up on stage. Everyday things like pesticides on our food and pollution in the air make our bodies work harder to function and can throw the precise tuning of our hormonal or digestive system. When we have a lot of internal chaos going on, an external stressor that throws us off our routine – like jet lag or working overtime to meet a deadline is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and results in all-too-familiar throbbing pain.
Even after I had reduced my headache frequency from nearly daily to once or twice in a month with a healthy diet and sleep routine, I was stuck in this mode of getting “inconvenient headaches” for years. I just didn’t know it was possible to get rid of headaches at the source.
Of course I was upset when I had to cancel something I was looking forward to stay home in a dark room with an ice pack. Of course I was disappointed when a presentation didn’t go very well because I could barely stand up on stage and talk much less show any enthusiasm because I was pushing through the pain. Looking back it makes so much sense, but before I made the connection between the headaches and my internal stress threshold I thought the only thing that I could do was make sure to take my migraine prescription with me whenever I had something important to do!
Once you understand this concept of an internal stress threshold, you can start to tackle your headaches from two angles:
1) Start to look for the internal stress that is contributing to your headaches. Examples of internal stress include food sensitivities, hormonal imbalances, poor digestion or absorption of nutrients, toxic burden from parasites or chemicals in your environment and other biochemical imbalances that cause stress in your body at a deep level that you may not even be aware of. In our Headache and Migraine Summit, my cohosts and I interviewed 30 rockstar clinicians and researchers about underlying causes and what you can do about it. Learn more here.
Uncovering these sources of hidden stress can be done with saliva, urine and stool tests that you simply take at home, mail into a lab and review with a functional practitioner who will help you understand how to upgrade your lifestyle and potentially add targeted supplementation to restore balance. This process can take several months, so in the meantime you’ll want some quick win strategies, which brings me to the second thing that I teach.
2) Arm yourself with an arsenal of stress-busting techniques or stress “hacks” that you can use to calm your nervous system at the first sign of a headache (do you usually get neck and shoulder tension first, strange food cravings or light sensitivity?). These are also things to deploy during times when you know you are prone to headaches – for example in the days leading up to your period or when things get stressful at work. Different things will work for different people but my 3 personal favorites are box breathing, Emotional Freedom Technique and using essential oils. In mere minutes you can short circuit your stress response and hopefully keep a headache at bay.
Save your seat today for the Chronic Headache and Migraine Summit featuring over 30 holistic and functional health experts sharing their clinical experience and the most effective strategies for getting to the root causes of headaches. The videos will be available to download starting July 10th, but the free viewing period is only from July 10-17, 2017 so sign up now to make sure you don’t miss out.
With her 4-step Migraine Freedom™ plan, Erin Knight helps women who desire natural solutions providing freedom from chronic migraines, so that they can experience a dramatic increase in productivity and thrive in the active life that they dream of.
Having suffered with chronic migraines in high school and into her first career as a process improvement engineer, Erin is sympathetic to the impact that headaches have on our work and social life. After climbing back from a massive burnout in her late 20’s using strategies from functional medicine and realizing her migraines disappeared as she balanced her hormones and fixed her digestion, she started her company Engineering Radiance to help women who are frustrated with the conventional management of migraines and want to get to the root causes.
Erin has her Masters of Engineering from the University of Michigan and is trained in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition™ and nutrigenomics. After a decade guiding Fortune 500 teams through root cause analysis, she now applies these problem-solving skills to our most complex system - the human body.
Erin shares implementation strategies for achieving radiant health through online classes, corporate workshops and 1:1 consulting and has a goal of helping a million women discover freedom from their migraine headaches.
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