The Pain in My…


Headaches can be:

  • Annoying
  • Insistent
  • Persistent
  • Panic-Inducing (if you see bright lights, feel dizzy, and smell burnt toast)
  • Nauseating

Check all that apply.  Imagine, if you will, the sheer number of types of headaches there are:  stress, hunger, dehydration, migraine, tension, sinus, weather, solar flares, family, PMS, astrological…the list goes on.  I’ve suffered from all of them at various times in my life, sinus headaches being my most persistent enemies – I suffer at least once a week.  My first migraine at occurred at age 3 – there’s a photo of me at the beach, grimacing and clutching my head, shovel and pail abandoned.  As a young adult (before having children), headaches would render me useless for days.  Now, I can usually soldier through but I still get the odd skull-buster that has me rolling around on the floor in agony.

In ancient times, headaches were thought to be caused by demons – and it’s no wonder given how an acute migraine can cause all manner of writhing, moaning, and an inability to act sane, generally.  Even in the 21st Century, there is ongoing debate as to what causes headaches.  Increased computer use, eye strain, and sensory bombardment are thought to be modern causes as well as increased stresses.  Dietary concerns are also being examined.  One person I know eliminated gluten from her diet and has now been migraine-free for over a year. Still more people swear by other eliminations such as caffeine (sorry, no can do – if I don’t have caffeine, I get a massive headache), alcohol, processed sugars/flour, and God forbid, chocolate.

Although my headaches have generally decreased in intensity, they’ve increased in frequency which has me swallowing a rather frightening amount of Advil on a weekly basis.  So, I figure I have some choices to make:  continue my pill habit (which doesn’t even work that well anymore) or start looking at causes/effects.  The problem is, I’m lazy.  Taking Advil is easier than keeping a food diary, remembering to drink water, and doing yoga.  But it’s my choice to make:  live with the pain or figure out how to alleviate it or better yet, stop it altogether.

  Here are some folk remedies I won’t be trying: placing leeches on my forehead, rubbing a paste made from cow dung and molasses on my temples, having a family member read pages of the Bible to me, tie a buzzard’s head around my neck.  Folk remedies I might try:  running around the house 3 times (I assume wearing clothes but it doesn’t say), having someone rub my head, finding someone who is a 7th child to blow in my ear (might be hard here in the city where everyone has 2.5 children), standing on my head.

Couldn’t I just say I’m possessed by demons (which, frankly, my family believes anyway), bathe in ancient cures like Spanish lavender, and take a Persian concoction of myrrh and opium?  Yes, the latter might be met with some disapproval.  So, off to find a wee notebook so I can record what I eat and drink for the next 10 days or so.  Oh, and where’s a water bottle…  It’s enough to give me a…well, you know.


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