Most headaches have both structural and physiological components and require physical and nutritional therapies plus recognition of dietary imbalances.
1) Structural problems include TMJ (temporomandibular or jaw-joint problems), upper cervical problems (C1 or atlas, C2, C3), cranial problems, a misaligned coccyx (tailbone), and physical trauma. These require dental, chiropractic, osteopathic or acupuncture therapies in addition to nutritional aids.
In an interview for this article, Dr. Howard Loomis said, “In 23 years of practice as a chiropractor, I have never seen a headache case that did not involve anterior dorsals,” meaning loss of normal dorsal kyphosis or normal C-curvature when the patient’s head is bent downward. He further explained that the nerve supply from the anterior dorsals goes through the stomach, gallbladder and pancreas. I have noticed that people with digestive (stomach/ pancreas) or liver/gallbladder problems often develop headaches. Anterior dorsals are not a causative factor, but an associative one.
In a person with anterior dorsals, one eyeball will protrude more than the other. This is easy to see by placing the thumbs gently on the closed eyes. Thera-zyme Spl, is excellent support for normalization this. I have seen uneven eyeballs (including mine) achieve a balanced position in thirty minutes following administration of Thera-zyme Spl. In fact, this is an excellent nutritional choice for minor cranial problems.
2) Physiological and/or chemical imbalances are related to several problems. These include allergies and other health problems resulting from enzyme deficiencies; liver and gallbladder problems; and hormonal (glandular) problems as such hypothyroidism. A common hormonal cause of headaches in women, including migraines is estrogen dominance, caused by hypothyroidism, and aggravated by birth control pills or ERT.
3) Stress can cause a tension headache. Anti-stress management will help relieve this type of headache. There are many ways to relieve stress: meditation, chiropractic treatment, massage therapy, taking a vacation and eliminating the cause of the stress (a stressful job or lifestyle for example).
Below are case histories that describe the nutritional approach to headache. They illustrate how enzyme deficiencies, refined foods and structural problems can contribute to a painful condition.
The Upper Cervical Headache
This is a common cause of severe headaches, including migraines and it comes from the misalignment of the upper cervical vertebrae: C1 or atlas, C2 and C3. The occiput is also commonly involved. Because the symptoms of this problem are so diverse, it is often difficult to connect symptoms with cause. People suffering from this problem can have many symptoms, not just severe headaches but dizziness, indigestion, severe constipation, problems with urination, sudden sinking spells and so on. The enyme formula for this is Thera-zyme Sym (sympathetic). If you have had a head injury, you will need this formula in addition to a very good chiropractor.
Case History: A 56-year old woman presented with migraines since childhood. In addition, she had been taking estrogen for at least 20 years. After stopping the estrogen, she experienced hot flashes, which gradually disappeared after about three months when she started taking natural progesterone and natural thyroid glandular. But, her neck gave her problems. I sent her to a good chiropractor, Dr. Greg Kahn of Eugene, Oregon, who corrected her upper cervical problems. I gave her the Sym formula to hold her adjustments. Now, she is headache free for the first time in her life.
The Coccyx (Tailbone) Headache
Why does your head hurt when your tailbone is out? Dr. Ellen Cutler, A chiropractor from Corte Madera, California, gave the following explanation. Because the neural sheath is attached to the coccyx and goes all the way from the tailbone to the brain, many symptoms can arise when the coccyx is misaligned. These include migraines, sciatica, lumbosacral problems (low back pain), dysmenorrhea (painful menses) and other chronic subluxations.
Dr. Howard Loomis said that many of his patients present with this condition. He told me that it is easy to detect patients with uncorrected coccyx problems. They are the ones who don’t improve despite repeated adjustments. Loomis said that any severe emotional trauma could lead to a coccyx problem due to the extreme nervous tension involved. One of the most common emotional causes of coccyx problems is sexual abuse. Others are aware of the sexual abuse connection to health problems. The November 1992 The Mind, reported that researchers from the University of Arizona in Tucson discovered a striking increase in health problems in female rape victims. But, all severe emotional traumas, including the death of a loved one and even serious financial problems can cause a coccyx problem. Financial problems, if severe enough, can cause a coccyx problem because of the extreme anxiety from not knowing if you can pay rent or feed your children. Think of the many homeless people in this situation.
Another category in which a coccyx problem may be observed is with severe conditions such as chronic appendicitis, and other serious health conditions that require medical attention.
Coccyx problems can also result in severe emotional problems. I have seen complete personality changes from negative and self-effacing to positive and out-going following a coccyx correction and other appropriate physical therapy, plus a sound nutritional program.
Loomis told me that acupuncture could explain the profound effects of the coccyx adjustment. Correcting the coccyx affects the two meridians, which vertically bisect and encircle the body, the conception vessel meridian (CV-1) and the governing vessel meridian (GV-1). CV-1 runs from the pubic area through the umbilicus, epigastrum, sternum, and bisects the face, the nose and the eyes. It meets GV-1 as it traverses the top of the head and bisects the back right down the spine and into the coccyx. Adjusting the coccyx affects these meridians and therefore, the organs they traverse.
The late Dr. Don Sumers, C.A., of Redding, California gave an excellent analogy on why the coccyx produces physical as well as emotional symptoms. He says the Chinese call the coccyx, the root of the tree from which comes the spark of the Creator, the ability to procreate. Trees get their sustenance from the root. If the root is affected, the whole tree is affected and the tree can die. Both acupuncture and chiropractic can realign the coccyx. The important point is that it must be corrected.
Case History: The following case illustrates the devastating effects of sexual abuse and the healing effect of the coccyx adjustment. My daughter, Veronica, presented with chronic migraines which included vomiting and complete disability following stress, even pleasant stress, such as an exciting vacation trip. These migraines started very early in her life, after about the age of three. Although she had been molested at the age of three, in later years, she had no recall of her traumatic experience. I did not connect her migraines to her childhood trauma until I met Dr. Loomis, who told me about the importance of correcting a misaligned coccyx, no matter what the cause. I immediately took her to Dr. Cutler.
Cutler found that her coccyx was misaligned and adjusted it in addition to using her chiropractic techniques. Following her treatment, as we were driving home, Veronica told the following story: She started talking about her experience, which, until now, had been completely repressed - no recall whatsoever. She now described each incidence with complete calm and vivid details. I rejoiced, because I knew that with recall would come a release of her trauma, which had apparently become locked in her coccyx. Ten years have passed since our visit with Cutler, and my daughter has never had another migraine, though her stresses have been many. My heart goes out to all the children who have suffered like my daughter, but don’t connect it to their abuse.
The Complex Headache
This illustrates the problems of complex headaches that just don’t seem to respond to any treatment.
The Headache That Thirteen Drugs Didn’t Cure: Dr. Dennis Crawford of Folsom, California, a nutritionally oriented chiropractor, reported the following complex case.
Mary, a 73-year old woman came to Crawford carrying a sack containing 13 drugs, which she took daily. These included 50 mg of Prednisone. Her face was puffed up like a basketball and had dark purple blotches on it, which were also visible on her arms,” said Crawford (side effects of Prednisone). “She had difficulty talking. Her mind seemed unclear, and she appeared in a stupor.”
Mary had been undergoing dental treatment for TMJ problems for six years, when she suddenly developed continuous headaches so severe, that they caused vomiting and complete debilitation, including the need to sleep sitting up. Her dentist, concerned that an undiagnosed illness was presenting, sent her for extensive medical tests.
After $30,000 of these tests, which included blood chemistries, a brain scan, a biopsy and an angiogram, she was diagnosed with temporal arthritis, an inflammation of the temporal nerves, which can lead to blindness. Over a two-year period, she was prescribed 41 prescription drugs by 13 different doctors, including hormones, antibiotics, tranquilizers, painkillers, and many others, some for her headaches and others for different problems. To convince me that she was not exaggerating, Mary sent me a seven page computer printout of her prescriptions. I have listed only the ones prescribed more than once and do not know which of the 41 she brought with her during her visit.
The drugs “only took the edge off my pain,” she said. Crawford did a complete chiropractic analysis and treatment, including TMJ and cranial work. His tests showed two enzyme deficiencies, cellulase and pro-tease. Cellulase (Thera-zyme Nsl) deficiencies may accompany facial neuralgia (nerve pain), Bell’s palsy and Tic and other nervous system (neuritis) problems. Facial neuralgia can lead to severe headaches and in this case may have been associated with Mary’s TMJ. Protease deficiency (Thera-zyme TRMA and IVD) is found in TMJ problems, in fact, in any problem involving soft tissue inflammation, calcium and bone metabolism, protein digestion and the immune system.
In addition, Dr. Crawford noticed that Mary was panting (hyperventilating) as she lay on his therapy table. Testing confirmed the need for Thera-zyme Circ, an enzyme formulation containing Hawthorne berries, and Collinsonia plus enzymes created for patients locked in sympathetic dominance. Panting is only one symptom. Others may include: anxiety, rapid heart beat with palpitations; cold hands and feet; and intestinal distress.
Immediately following the chiropractic treatment and enzyme therapy, Mary’s pain went away. She weaned herself from Prednisone and gratefully acknowledged, “I feel better and have more freedom now than the past 1-1/2 years!” Her friends are amazed at her sudden change in appearance and increased vitality.
A Sugar Imbalance Headache
The following case, from the Crawford files, is a very common phenomenon. Carey, a 47-year old woman presented with daily headaches of 1-1/2 years duration, which were partly relieved by coffee. Carey was sugar intolerant (couldn’t digest sugar) and Crawford recommended Thera-zymes PAN and Adr to support sugar digestion. She also had TMJ and needed Thera-zyme IVD, a musculoskeletal support formula for all spinal conditions, including TMJ and other disk problems. During his evaluation, Crawford found that the woman’s liver had become damaged by excessive use of Tylenol (a common side-effect) and recommended herbs to detoxify and support the liver. Because she needed to benefit from the liver detoxification, it took about one week for her headaches to subside.
Dr. Howard Loomis said that the following case was so common, he didn’t think to tell me until I requested information on migraines. However common to him, this case impressed me enough to include it here. A 10-year old girl presented with migraines so severe, they caused loss of vision. Naprosyn (250 mg) did not relieve them. The young girl had the classic symptomatology of protease deficiency, low blood sugar syndrome. Her symptoms included: craving for sugar and cold liquids, dislike for meat, and intolerance of raw foods, dairy and fats.
A fasting palpation indicated the need for kidney support (Thera-zyme Kdy), colon support (Thera-zyme SmI) and protease (Thera-zyme TRMA). A multiple digestive enzyme formula high in protease (Thera-zyme Bil) was indicated. Loomis gave the child all of the enzymes indicated except Thera-zyme TRMA. He told her mother to remove sugar from the child’s diet.
Her headaches disappeared, after short-term therapy. Loomis continued only the digestive remedy, Bil. Soon thereafter, the child complained that Thera-zyme Bil hurt her tummy. Protease can cause gastric distress in patients who challenge their gastric mucosal lining with anti-inflammatory drugs such as Naprosyn. Loomis switched her to Thera-zyme DGST, a pediatric multiple digestive formula. At the same time the child resumed eating sugar. Four days after switching to DGST, the headaches returned. Loomis went back to Bil, 2 per meal, the normal dose, and advised her to decrease to one per meal if the pain returned. As long as the young girl continued to avoid refined sugar and take her enzymes, she was fine.
The Estrogen Migraine
Estrogen dominance or normal estrogen unopposed by progesterone may lead to migraines, seizures, and many other severe health problems. Estrogen headaches are common in females who take birth control pills and who use estrogen as a morning after pill to prevent conception. They always occur in hypothyroid women who are estrogen dominant even though they don’t take any form of estrogen therapy.
The estrogen migraine is easy to diagnose because it occurs at ovulation and/or menses and subsides thereafter. It is often accompanied by vomiting, general malaise and emotional swings. There are always nutritional factors involved. The most common is excess sugar craving and/or consumption, sometimes excess consumption of chocolates, and other dietary excesses normally controlled except during menses. Natural progesterone therapy is always indicated, but low thyroid function is the cause, because hypothyroid women cannot produce adequate progesterone. So, all estrogen dominant women are hypothyroid. In addition, enzyme deficiencies, notably protease, must be properly diagnosed and corrected.
A “Toxic Shock” Migraine:
A patient with multiple health problems told me that she suffered migraines during her menses until she stopped using tampons. She could evoke the headache by inserting a tampon and get rid of it by removing it! I do not know how common this is but it’s worth knowing about.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, prescribe for, treat or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human disease. They are intended for nutritional support only. The FTC requires that we tell you that the results in case notes and testimonials published here are not typical, however, they do show what some people have been able to achieve. Individuals vary, which is why we must always consider the whole person when recommending a course of action. The third party information referred to herein is neither adopted nor endorsed by this web site but is provided for general information purposes. The listing of specific disease terms is based upon medical literature and is not a substitute for competent medical advice. If you suspect a medical condition, you should consult a physician.
Copyright 2001 - 2006. Neither this article, nor any part of it, may be reproduced without permission. If permission to reprint is granted, the article must include author and URL information.Lita Lee, Ph.D.