I've met a few people in my life that have said they've never had a headache. I still am not sure how that's possible, but I wish that was the case for me.
The shitty thing about headaches is anything can cause them. Your diet, your mental health, the amount of activity you engage in, your sleep, your stress levels, allergies–literally anything. So for doctors to pin down a reason for your headaches is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. There are too many reasons and if it's not something serious, a ton of doctors just tell you to take pills and lay down in a dark room. That's not realistic.
I can't even remember when I first started getting headaches. I didn't have them as a kid, but I think around grade 11 is when they really started. They weren't that bad back then, and I can honestly say I never drank water back then either. Yup, I drank Diet Pepsi and probably thought the water I drank while brushing my teeth was enough. Don't worry, I'm cringing too.
Grade 12 is when they started getting really bad, and I swear I lived off of Advil Liquid Gels. They worked, and I didn't see a problem with it. But I was taking so many, looking back it was probably a rebound headache from taking Advil so much. I had a headache so much, when I didn't I couldn't remember what it was like to not have one. That's not okay.
Fast forward a few years into college. The headaches had now turned really bad, but I still wasn't doing anything about it. I wasn't taking Advil nearly as much as before, but I was still taking it and missing school due to these headaches. It was annoying for me, because unpopular opinion, I loved college. Once I graduated, I got a job at a health foods store and felt like I was finally learning things to get rid of my headaches. But still, the migraines came and I could hardly count the cash at night without wanting to vomit.
The worst of my headaches came when I got promoted at the health foods store to marketing and design coordinator. I wasn't sleeping, I felt delusional and I couldn't concentrate because of it. I would lay there at night with the worst migraines ever, not wanting to call in sick to work the next day. I had gone to my doctor several times, and she honestly didn't seem to care. I felt like I had tried everything at that point. I truly hadn't.
Last summer was super bad for my migraines as well. Cancelling plans with people because you have a headache seems like a copout, let me tell you, it's not. For everyone out there who doesn't experience headaches or migraines, please be patient with people who do. Most people who get migraines have tried everything they can to make them go away, it's not an excuse.
After being miserable for what felt like decades of trying to get these migraines to go away, I finally decided to experiment with it. See, I have a jaw condition called TMJ where your jaw locks up and it makes it difficult to chew food, talk for too long, and basically it's the bane of your existence. That gave me even worse headaches from clenching my jaw so hard. Life is rough, guys.
By the end of 2016 I had had it. It was an awful year, I feel like most of us can vouch for that. I wanted a change. And I definitely got one. After committing to a workout program, eliminating dairy from my diet and getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night, I can finally say I cured my migraines. Looking back, I was stressed all the time. I was stressed because I was thinking I would wake up with a headache, or have to cancel plans because of it. Working out 5-6 times a week for me is my cure for basically everything. Of course, I still get a headache around 2-3 times a month now. But they're completely manageable, they don't ruin my life, and I can usually drink a ton of water and it'll go away.
Your body needs to move to live. Endorphins do so much for you other than tackling mental illness. When you get endorphins running through your body, you feel healthier, you look happier, and your body feels like it has a purpose. Our bodies are amazing, but our lives won't be if you just sit around waiting for the headaches to go away. Exercise truly changed my life, and here are a few other tips I picked up on along the way:
- Stay away from soda, or sugary drinks. Go for water, tea or Kombucha
- Don't listen to anyone that says caffeine cures headaches
- Don't eat chocolate or dairy when you have a headache
- Take magnesium pills every single day
- Apple cider vinegar cures everything
- Treat yourself to a deep tissue massage every couple of months
- Put peppermint oil on your temples, forehead and neck when you have a headache
- Yoga is great for releasing the tension in your body
- When the last thing you want to do is work out, that's the first thing you should do