Do you ever wonder what the root cause of your headache is? With June being National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month, James Jensen from Australian Nutrition Centre reminds us that headaches don’t start in the head! Here, he shares the most common underlying factors that trigger headaches and migraines. 


1. Stress Hormones

Stress hormones often wreak havoc on your mind, body and change the way your blood flows. Whether you are faced with a hungry lion or a tight deadline, we go into ‘Flight or Fight’ mode and the stress response is exactly the same. Stress can change the body’s receptor, and as soon as a ‘stressor’ (threat) is identified, the body releases hormones including adrenaline and cortisol, which can activate intense pressure in the head.


2. Sex Hormone Imbalance 

Many women experience severe headaches and migraines related to their menstrual cycle. Menstrual or hormonal migraines are often caused by the change from high to low oestrogen. Excess oestrogen can activate mast cells and therefore histamine to create and even worsen migraines. This is called oestrogen dominance and often occurs close to a period when oestrogen is dropping. 


3. Sensitivity to Toxins  

Our body needs regular detoxification to remove the many toxins that we are faced with daily. These toxins come from a wide range of things, from the pesticides on our food to the air we breathe. This sensitivity and build up of toxins can lead to a blockage in our system, causing poor detoxification and resulting in migraines and headaches. 


4. Nutrient Deficiency 

Nutrient deficiencies like low iron and B12 can lead to changes in blood flow and viscosity. This poor circulation often means that thicker blood is trying to move through narrow capillaries in the body which ultimately, builds pressure and causes pain in the head. 

Whilst you want the headache to disappear, simply killing the pain and blocking the nerves is not treating the cause. Headaches are your body’s version of asking for help, and you’ll often find there is more than one underlying factor that contributes to each headache and migraine. Speak to an Integrated Nutritionist for more information on how they can help remove the hand brakes on your headaches and migraines.