3 Common Types of Headache (and How to Treat Them Naturally)

Headache FinalOne major downside to having these big prominent heads stuffed with consciousness-spawning brain matter is that they sometimes ache. Nobody likes a headache. You can find fetishists who enjoy pinching, slapping, biting, burning and any matter of objectively painful stimuli. But there aren’t “headache fetishists.” No one’s chugging a 32 ounce Slurpee in search of brain freeze, or getting drunk for the hangover.

The difficult thing about headaches is figuring out why they’re occurring. Pain in other areas is different. You can look at your hand if it’s hurting and figure out why. You can see the cut on your knee and know what’s going on. But you are your head, and the headache is inside. Your consciousness sits behind your eyes observing reality and directing your role in it. It’s all a big mystery. Or so it feels.

That doesn’t mean we’re helpless. There are many effective ways to manage, treat, and even blunt the painful effects of headaches.

There are different types of headaches. To fix them, you’ll need to first understand which type of headache currently affects you.

The three main ones are migraines, cluster headaches, and tension headaches.


These guys are serious business. I’ve been lucky enough not to suffer from them, but I have several friends who do.

Some migraines come with “auras.” In aura migraines, sufferers are struck with alterations to consciousness that serve as a “warning” of the impending migraine: an odd smell in the air, swirling colors, bright lights, confusing thought patterns. Auras can occur a few seconds to a couple hours in advance. They usually but not always subside once the actual migraine hits.

Migraines affect more boys than girls, and more women than men. They also run in families, suggesting a hereditary component.

Migraine Treatments

B Vitamins:

  • Vitamin B12: B12 deficiency is more common than many people think and may play a large role in migraine vulnerability.
  • Folate: In women migraine sufferers, increasing dietary folate reduces the severity of the attacks. Higher doses may be better; 1 mg folate was ineffective, while 2 mg folate was an effective prophylactic.
  • Riboflavin: Riboflavin deficiency is common among migraine patients, and researchers have spent a considerable amount of time exploring its supplementation for migraine prevention. A 2004 study found that giving riboflavin to migraine patients reduced their frequency and resulted in fewer uses of anti-migraine abortive meds. Riboflavin decreased migraines in kids and teens in one study, but others have had mixed results. All in all, it appears safe and effective for adults, and perhaps worth a shot in kids (just don’t get your hopes up).

Magnesium: The evidence is quite clear in 2016. Magnesium matters for (many) migraine sufferers.

  • Migraine patients have lower magnesium levels than controls. Same goes for red blood cell magnesium levels. In juveniles, magnesium levels actually drop after a migraine.
  • Low magnesium levels are a significant and independent predictor of one’s migraine risk. In the “acute attack phase,” a migraine patient’s odds of having a migraine go up by 35 times if magnesium levels drop below recommended bottom limits. In migraine patients not in the acute phase, their odds go up by 6.5 times if magnesium levels are low.
  • Oral magnesium trials are mixed, but there’s some effect. Magnesium appears to be effective as migraine prophylaxis—as a preventive measure. You probably can’t take magnesium once a migraine hits and expect an effect. In that same study, L-carnitine and L-carnitine combined with magnesium also worked better than placebo. Magnesium citrate (600 mg/day) was very helpful for non-aura migraines and may be a better choice than magnesium oxide, the type used in most other migraine studies.

Red meat: Red meat is the best source of both L-carnitine, riboflavin, and vitamin B12. Throw some sauteéd spinach in there and you’ve got a big dose of L-carnitine, riboflavin, and magnesium. Make it beef heart and you’ll get some CoQ10 as well. Make it liver and you’ve got yourself some folate.

Just don’t forget the dual nature of red meat. Red meat may help your migraine, improve your body composition, boost your performance in the gym, increase bone mineral density, and help your grandma’s brain work better, but it’s going to kill you!

Triggers: Every migraine sufferer I know has a food, smell, or chemical compound that triggers them. For some, it’s bad Chinese food (maybe the MSG?). For others, it’s red wine, or aged cheeses, dairy in general, gluten, fast food, or even red meat (in which case disregard the previous section). According to Chris Kresser, the most common triggers are foods containing histamine, tyramine, or arginine. They’re not all foods and drinks, either. They can be common household chemicals and perfumes. Some people report EMF as a trigger. Even particularly powerful emotions, stressful situations, and other non-corporeal phenomena can be triggers for some people.

Supplementation: It is a must-try. The previously-mentioned are all important nutrients with a high safety profile; there’s no reason not to give them a shot, and they’ll probably help. A recent study gave a proprietary magnesium, riboflavin, and CoQ10 supplement to migraine sufferers. The supplement was a huge success, reducing symptom severity and duration.

MeditationMindfulness meditation seems to work.

Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are probably the most painful type of headache, but they don’t last as long as a typical migraine. They hit one side of the head, usually centralized around the eye, and come in waves or “clusters.”

Cluster headaches affect more men than women.

Cluster Headache Treatments

Psychedelics: Although rigorous trials are lacking. a number of surveys and case studies indicate that the classical psychedelics psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms) and LSD (AKA acid) may alleviate and reduce the severity of cluster headaches. In one, authors interviewed people who had treated their own cluster headaches with either LSD or psilocybin, finding the vast majority had derived major benefits from their experimentation. In a more recent survey of cluster headache sufferers, psilocybin, LSD, and LSA (a close relative of LSD with similar effects and mechanisms) appeared to be just as efficacious as conventional medicines, and often more so. That said, going on a trip (of the non-plane, train or automobile variety) to cure cluster headaches probably isn’t for most folks. So read on.

Sex hormone replacement: Cluster headaches frequently appear in people with low testosterone levels. When you give testosterone to male cluster headache sufferers with low testosterone, symptoms improve. Half experience total remission.

Circadian hygiene: For decades, researchers have found many examples of circadian misalignment in patients suffering from cluster headaches.

  • Headaches in general have a consistent relationship to sleep problems.
  • In non-sufferers, melatonin and cortisol secretion are synchronized; as one goes up, the other goes down. In cluster headache patients, there is no synchronization. Almost half show no evidence of melatonin or cortisol rhythm at all.
  • People with cluster headaches are more likely to sleep poorly. Headache frequency correlates with daylight hours, increasing during winter and late autumn and decreasing during spring, summer, and early fall.

Melatonin supplementation (10mg in the evening in one study) seems to help. I’d imagine that getting more natural light during the day and less artificial light at night will also help.

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common type and have many different causes, some physical, some psychological. Women are more likely than men to get tension headaches.

Tension Headache Treatments

Vitamin D/Sun: There’s a fairly consistent relationship between latitude and headache occurrence. The further away you are from the equator, the less sun and the more headache. This probably holds true for migraine as well.

Massage: Effective massage for headaches can be as simple as rubbing your own temples until the headache diminishes. It can be more complicated, employing trigger point therapy. Maybe it’s Thai massage. Maybe it’s just your significant other rubbing your neck and head while you watch Netflix together. Perhaps the most reliable way to alleviate a tension headache with massage is to focus on the suboccipital muscles along the base of your skull.

You don’t necessarily need a massage therapist every time. Touch heals, and healers needn’t be experts.

Chiropractic: Spinal manipulation may help some tension headaches, particularly combined with massage. It improves range of motion along the cervical spine, which should also help prevent future headaches.

Exercise: Getting your neck stronger can reduce headaches.

Address posture: People with chronic tension headaches tend to show more forward head posture and have more active (read: painful/tender) trigger points along the neck and upper shoulders. Avoid text neck. Break up sitting time and especially staring-at-a-device time.

Trigger point therapy: Mentioned earlier, tension headache sufferers tend to have tender trigger points along the trapezius (“shrugging muscles”), sternocleidomastoid (muscles running from the breastbone past the collarbone to the back of your head; controls head turning), and temporalis (big muscles alongside the head that control chewing) muscles.

Relax: Whatever relaxes you, go do it; stress is a consistent factor in the development of tension headaches. Fight it. Rethink it. Redirect it.

That’s all I’ve got, folks. What about you? How do you deal with headaches? What’s worked? What hasn’t?

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About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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67 thoughts on “3 Common Types of Headache (and How to Treat Them Naturally)”

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  1. I’ve also heard some good things about feverfew, mostly as a preventative, for migraines as well. I’m not sure how effective it is for other types of headache.

    1. Bicarbonates like sodium and potassium work well with magnesium citrate lots of water too. acetaldehyde is the culprit… it is produced by mycobacterium candida. had cluster headaches daily for 13 years before I resolved it. water has miracle powers.

      water + electrolytes = alkaline … means miracles…

      1. Acetaldehyde is a metabolite of alcohol, which could explain hangovers.
        I read about a combination effective for eliminating it. I can’t remember exactly: there was vitamin C, a B-vitamin (possibly 1), and an amino acid, which I’m thinking might have been lysine or cysteine.

        1. P.S. the acetaldehyde is very toxic, even more than the ethanol that it’s metabolized from.
          Another alcohol (and maybe acetaldehyde metabolite) is vinegar, which is a good thing.

  2. My little brother used to get horrible headaches as a child. He’d get nauseous, be sensitive to light, etc., all the classic signs of migraines. Doctors said he’d outgrow it. At the time, he was also taking a daily non-inhaler medication for asthma. Once he stopped (because his asthma wasn’t really bad in the first place), the headaches disappeared. Poor guy was suffering from the side effects of the medication! So that’s something to keep in mind too: be mindful of any medications you may be taking.

  3. Magnesium has been helpful to me if I’m consistent. Like you said, it’s there to reduce the frequency, not stop the pain mid migraine.

  4. I notice that when I got better with what I ate, I clearly started getting fewer headaches. For whatever reason (whether low grade inflammation, immune response to poor foods I was eating, etc.), eating Primal has certainly helped.

  5. Acupressure and massage are great for tension headaches. If I spend too much time at a computer in a not-so-ergonomically friendly position, I’ll feel hunched over and get pressure at the base of my neck. And, sure enough, a headache will develop. But if I mind my posture, or get some bodywork when I don’t, I’m pretty headache free.

  6. If I get a headache it is in the morning when my sinuses have pressure. The real helper I swear by is my Neti pot. Cleansing the sinuses really helps get rid of that stuffy feeling and headache. Makes me cheer, “go Neti. Go Neti go Neti.”

    1. +1 on the Neti pot. 99% of my headaches are from having clogged sinuses when the pressure changes because of a weather front moving in.

  7. Interesting about the magnesium. I rarely get headaches. The last time I got a bad one (several years ago) I had eaten Chinese food. I have not had it since! If I do get a headache I find sniffing a little peppermint or spearmint essential oil can be helpful. Also I sometimes pinch the area in between my thumb and index finger for a moment. I heard about that years ago and recently an acupuncturist confirmed it for me. I used to get headaches more frequently. Looking back I think it may have been from processed foods.

  8. A few more:

    “I need glasses” headache

    Caffeine-withdrawl headache, which is why people think they need their morning coffee; they are actually going through caffeine withdrawal symptoms. (full disclosure: written while drinking coffee)

    Ponytail-too-tight headache (no one ever talks about this but it’s a common cause). Or hat/visor too tight.

    1. And glasses too tight. I had to get rid of a pair of sunglasses that made me look fabulous, but were a headache in the making every time I put them on! ????

      1. I kind of thought of it as a snake.
        When you see aspartame on an ingredients list, think of asps that are tamed – to poison you.

  9. I’ve noticed that the headaches I usually get are borne from being dehydrated. They tend to occur most after I’ve been active and sweating a lot and haven’t gotten my water and electrolyte balance restored.

  10. I have been improving my health over the last several years, yet still occasionally get migraines. Niacin helps me (the flush kind). I take a few hundred mg. I love the flush, but it could freak someone out if they arent used to it. It helps my liver and the blood flow somehow helps me with migraines. Also, when i feel it start coming on I use topical magnesium oil spray (wellness mama had the recipe) I rub it on my neck, shoulders, and face, anywhere it feels tight. Doing this a few times helps along with lots of ice water. I also take several velerian root capsules 5-7 depending on severity, which reduces the tight feeling and even laying a cool wash cloth on painful areas helps. Lastly, a recent one was brought on by eating chick peas, as i did not know i had a problem with them. The homeopathic remedy bovista 200 taken several times that night and twice the next day cleared the problem spectacularly (this is the banerji protocol i learned from joette calabrese website). I have not had to take pain medication in several years by using these techniques.

  11. My 10yo son gets migraines. We can’t always pinpoint a trigger, but we know that overstimulation is one of his triggers. Poor kid will get all excited about a party or an event, then before whatever-we’re-at is even half over, he gets a migraine. So far the only advice has been caffeine & 200mg ibuprofen. (We don’t like sodas; fortunately my little man will actually drink coffee!)
    Maybe we can head some migraines off with these tips! (No pun intended, but that was pretty good. ????) He’s been getting them for about five years now. It’s so sad to see a little kid out like that.

    1. Hi Beth
      I was diagnosed with chronic migrain a few years ago (headache atlease 28 days a month with atleast so many days as a migrain) i’m much better eating full primal – no dairy though and taking a magnesium supplement. But most importantly the neurologist gave me the following instructions:
      No Ibuprofen, it causes kick-back headaches and it can lead to a vicious cycle, avoid all pain killers if possible amd only consider paracetemol when desperate
      No caffein!
      No cat naps or lie ins (unless having an attack) – he was very eager on this point and said good sleep was essential.
      Drink approx 3 litres of water a day
      Avoid processed food.

      He was very forward thinking and encouraged me to investigate lifestyle approaches before turning to the strong medication, which he felt were not ghe answer.

      His advice has meant i haven’t seen him again! I have had a couple of migrains since but i can attribute those to not eating well and not taking supplements around mid cycle. I can also tell you sugar (especially chocolate) can give me instant headaches or lead to a migrain a few days later. – i am trying to be completely sugar free!

      Hope this helps!


    2. I would also consider getting his spine checked by a chiropractor. Sometimes even the birth process is enough to cause misalignments in the neck that can put pressure on the nerves going back up into the eye and head. Worth a shot to stay off drugs and get his life back.

    3. Beth-I had migraines all through my childhood into my mid 20’s then they stopped. They were terrible, I would know when they were coming on and I would end up in bed, in a dark room and sick and vomiting. Back then we did not know what was causing them but I remember being afraid of certain dinners, for example macaroni and cheese. (found out as a adult I am lactose intolerant.) I also didn’t like social situations. As I got older, I ate healthier, stopped birth control in my mid 20″s and have not had a migraine since. I am now 47 and look back on that as migraines took away part of my enjoyment of my youth-as they are quite debilitating. Hope you find some relief for your son.

    4. I have had migrianes since I was a teenager, I am 36 now. None of the medications really ever helped me. I did an elimination diet and realized that 90% of my migraines were caused by wheat/gluten. At first, when I re-tested gluten I thought I was able to eat it but I ended up getting migraines 2-3 times a week after 2 weeks of eating it, so it was a delayed reaction.

  12. My migraines are almost always triggered by the start of my monthly cycle. They have almost completely disappeared since being on Primal. For tension headaches, I have experienced them weekly almost all my life, and recently have discovered these are almost always a result of dehydration.

    1. Mine were tied to my monthly cycle as well – but only if I ate chocolate. I quickly learned to give up my chocolate addiction 5-7 days a month. But since going through menopause, my migraines have almost completely disappeared.

  13. My wife, 18 year old son and I were flying back to Boston in March on the day we set the clocks ahead. As the plane was descending, he suffered a severe headache. After several emergency room visits and some internet searching, we discovered that he had a cluster headache. He continued to have them every night exactly at 9:30 pm on the dot for the next 21 nights. At 9:29 pm, he was fine, at 9:30 pm, he would get an attack. I guess these headaches are tied to the hypothalamus, which controls our body clocks. Excruciating pain located behind one eye and jaw, caused by a vasodilation of the trigeminal nerve. Unlike migraine sufferers who get some relief with a dark, quiet environment, he would roll around on the floor, bang his head and apply pressure to his eye. He once ripped a book in half, binder and all. We eventually broke the cluster through steroids, Verapamil (calcium channel blocker), melatonin and high dosages of oxygen during the attacks. He had another one in May when he got out of an unheated swimming pool, but fortunately it did not trigger another multi-day cluster. These are definitely not fun to experience or watch and I can see why they are also called suicide headaches. Hope they don’t return.

  14. Smells definitely trigger them. Walking through a Yankee Candle shop is like playing with matches in an open field for me. Very likely to cause a whole lot of pain.

  15. For me, it’s a combination of things, not the least of which is sleep. If I don’t get enough, right around early afternoon I’ll feel a dull pain grow bigger behind my eyes until it becomes a full blown headache. Another reason to make sure I get a full 8 hours of Z’s!

  16. A VERY obvious trigger for me is rapid (or even not so rapid) changes in weather. If clouds roll in and there’s rain on the horizon, I’m more likely to get a migraine. I used to think it had something to do with how there’s increased light diffusion through clouds (since certain kinds of light can also be a trigger for migraines). But I started reading up and found out that our brains respond to changes in barometric pressure, which correlate with weather changes, hence the reason many migraine sufferers get attacks during weather changes. Strange world we live in and co-evolved with! 😛

    1. It’s the air pressure changes affecting your sinuses – my whole family gets them and we refer to it as “barometer brain” – any time a rainstorm or snowstorm approaches, we all get roaring headaches. Moving back to SoCal made my life MUCH easier (no rain).

    2. I too suffer from pressure headaches. Have you found any remedies?

    3. Air pressure changes get me, too. Instead of a really painful headache, I get severe vertigo. There is still a dull headache, sensitivity to light, etc. It usually takes a couple of days to completely go away.

      1. I also suffer from pressure headaches, have you found any remedies?

  17. Some migraine suffers know that *any* headache, sinus, cluster, tension, and dehydration, can lead to a migraine. So for really serious and serial migraine sufferers there a too many triggers. Right now I’ve narrowed it down to the Colorado fires (creating bad dry air) causing sinus pain which then turns into a migraine. Unbearable dark-bed-ridden migraines. I have them for weeks at a time this entire summer. I’m afraid a specialist is only going to give me more meds that mask rather than figure out the root cause.
    I’ve tried everything. Every. thing. Good lord I wish a bit of peppermint oil, body work (chiropractor seems to help for a few days, I can’t live with the man), or change of diet or supplements would work.
    When the migraine can come at you from all sides, then what?
    Truly, just chop off my head as every fiber, tooth, hair, cell, touch, smell, sound, light, and thought hurts like hell.
    There are about two supplements listed that I have not tried. Who knows? I will try!

  18. One supplement to prevent and reduce migraines (and contain some or all of the mentioned supplements) is migraine proof. http://www.migraineproof.com. It contains B2, Fish Oil, and I believe some of the other ingredients mentioned by Mark. Works for me and “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. In my case, I was taking Tylenol (not good on the liver), NSAIDS like ibuprofen and naproxen (not good on the stomach, GI) and extra caffeine (probably no harm in that). It may work for some of you as it reduced the frequency of my migraines. https://www.amazon.com/Migraine-Proof-Vitamin-Fish-Caps/dp/B00KYD9SQA/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1469046068&sr=8-1&keywords=Migraine+Proof

  19. I get sudden headaches that start with either of my eyes and are usually localised on that side of the head. I also have a very tender trapezius on the same side I also have carpel tunnel as well as stiffness in the back muscle, along the right side of the waist.

    I also get headache around my period. Does this mean I have some kind of a combination headache or there is something wrong with my entire right side of the body?

    I am seeing a Chiro. I still have the stiffness in the trapezius and the right side of the back as well as right buttock. Will it get better?

    1. Do you take any kind of prescription medication? You’d be surprised at some of the weird side effects that can result from medication. A lot of people never make the connection.

      1. Agree, prescriptions can be an issue. But I don’t take any prescriptions, just NDT and Mag, zinc, Bs.

  20. Addiction to caffeine and / or pain killers (paracetamol) can lead to a dependency which when you have to go cold turkey to get off them leads to 2 weeks of constant migraine but then you are clear. It is very rare for me o have migraines now I have got off them. Diet and exercise really help.

  21. I used to have one or two debilitating migraines a year. That might not seem too bad, but the pain was excruciating. Thankfully, I’ve been migraine free for over 15 years. The solution for me was marijuana. I haven’t had a single migraine since I started smoking (or vaping). If you live in a state that offers medical marijuana, it’s definitely worth a try, preferably before you try LSD or mushrooms.

  22. I deal with the sinus headaches. Pressure right above the eyes at the forehead. I have found using a neti pot works. There is also a Chinese herb called bian pi yan that tends to help. Hot water bottle on the forehead is a great remedy too. Beats the advil / Sudafed medications in many cases.

  23. I’ve been suffering from daily headaches for the past 9 months. Of course, nothing serious shows in any normal exams – but I seem to have tension-migraines. I switched my birth control, as the headaches started after I went off the shot and onto a pill. I now have the arm implant and have now noticed a reduction in the severity, though not the frequency of the headaches, but I’m less than 2 months in on it. The migraines seem to be dying down, but the tension ones are persistent and nasty. One deep tissue massage alleviated them for 2 whole weeks, while another one didn’t do much at all. I did 6 MFR massage sessions to no avail. Currently I’m off of work, so I am using it to reduce my stress levels (work is always a big one, and I am freelance). I’m currently doing a Whole30 to jump back into paleo, because I think losing weight will help and sugar isn’t doing me any favors. We’ll see if dairy is actually causing me any real problems…

    I should probably keep on top of my supplements – including riboflavin, magnesium glycinate (no loose stools and added calming effect), CoQ10 (as ubiquinol) and vitamin d. I also take digestive enzymes and HCL as I suspect I have very low stomach acid. It seems to help, but I hate taking pills. I have a prescription for a headache preventative, but I have to pay out of pocket to having it compounded (due to allergies) and I hate the thought of being on an anti-depressant for headaches…so I’m trying to do as much natural stuff as I can before then. Not to mention it seems to cause people to gain weight and/or make it impossible to lose, which I’m not keen on right now.

    I’ve tried many of the things above, but maybe acupressure would be good to try. I tried acupuncture once but I had a horrible reaction. It made everything unbearably bad for 5 days. I can’t do that and function unfortunately. The next step is marijuana probably, as I feel it’s fairly benign and hear it can really help. Hopefully it gets fully legalized here in Nov.

  24. I lucked out. When I drastically reduced wheat products three years ago my headache frequency dropped 75%!

  25. I have been misidentifying cluster headaches as migraines for years! My best treatment is cannabidiol or CBD from marijuana either in concentrated pill/edible form or in a marijuana strain higher in CBD than THC. I guess that falls in line with the psychedelics. The frequency of headaches is definitely reduced with lower consumption of sugar, wheat and dairy though.

  26. So … wondering if my doctor will write me a script for pharmaceutical grade psilocybin. I have … uh … bad headaches, yeah, that’s it, bad headaches. 🙂

  27. I also mentioned this on yesterday’s blog, but staying in ketosis has made the difference for me. I used to have daily migraines; now I have none.

    1. Word. Tight blood sugar control has made all the difference to me. I sometimes get a migraine at the start of my cycle still but I can handle that after years worth of more migraine than non-migraine days.

  28. I’ve never had a migraine, and I very rarely get any other kind of headache. People have said I must just be lucky because I don’t do anything special to avoid headaches. Not that I’m inviting frequent headaches, but it does give me pause for thought. I wonder if an occasional headache is a good thing, a normal thing. Is there anyone else out there who almost never gets a headache?

  29. Interesting article, but “Cluster Headaches” among the 3 common types of headaches? Actually, they’re one of the MOST RARE types. I mean sure, it’s interesting to include here since a natural cure like psilocybin is one of the most effective treatments, but really this is just not a common type of headache.

    People here in the comments section have mentioned far more common forms, like caffeine withdrawl and sinus headaches…

  30. I get tension headaches from eating too low-carb. (Auto correct just changed low-carb to low-fat. WTF?) It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, the headache usually hits after lunch, starting in my neck and progressing to my shoulders and head. I get really depressed and weepy, too. A couple sweet potatoes for a snack helps.

    Anyone know why this might be? Is it just the stress of my body having to convert fat for fuel?

  31. Headaches can also be a sign of dental problems. My husband was getting sudden bad headaches behind his left eye for the past month, turns out he had a bad upper molar. Wasn’t apparent until he went to the dentist, the tooth didn’t have any cavities, but the dentist said the root was dead. Now that it was fixed a week ago, no more headaches.

  32. I found my migraine ‘trigger’ many years ago, and unfortunately for me it is cocoa, in all it’s forms, ie chocolate etc.

    I have stayed clear of chocolate for over 30 years, but there are times when I ingest it unknowingly. I know when this happens, as I get a severe headache that will last approx 3-4 days (not a full blown migraine, given the dosage would be very small as I am quite strict with cocoa).

    Once, after I used a moisturizer, I got the headaches for a few days, and couldn’t figure out why. Then I took a close look at the ingredients, yep, contained cocoa butter!

    The funny thing is, whenever I say to people I’m allergic to chocolate, they always say, ” oh, what about white chocolate?”…. sigh….

  33. I recently have had “exercise” headaches. Has any one had this problem?

    1. Almost two years ago I began suffering from exercise induced headaches when crossfitting. At first, they were pretty mild and cleared up in a couple hours. Eventually I had one that lasted a week. During this time I noticed I started really craving salty foods. I was drinking lots of water, but then it occurred to me that maybe I needed to replace lost electrolytes. I started adding electrolytes (power pak) to my water, the headaches went away and I never had the problem again. I hope this helps!

  34. I was suffering from chronic migraines and nothing was helping. It got to where there was only a day or two out of the month that I didn’t have a migraine. Then, I read an article on Sole (so-lay, should be an e with an apostrophe over it). It’s water that’s super saturated with sea salt.

    That completely stopped the chronic migraines. I started with their recommended dosage and adjusted it for me. Now I take it daily and no migraines.

  35. I’ve been through ridiculous amounts of pain medication, muscle relaxers numerous times a day, physical therapy, massage therapy, chiropractics – for headaches and neck pain.

    The last Chiropractor I saw told me “Your muscles are very tight, have you ever thought of taking Magnesium?” and told me he takes it daily, and swears by it. I was skeptical but gave it a shot, I now use it every morning and evening. I have almost NO headaches (still get weather-related ones once in a while), my mysterious chronic pain and fatigue has improved IMMENSELY, and I sleep better.

    Magnesium, is the shit. I like the powder form that you mix in water.

  36. Last Summer, I accidentally found out that a cold shower can kill a heat- triggered headache in no time.

    Very infrequently, I wake up with a headache that I think comes from an upset stomach (digestive overload?).
    I had one recently and a cold shower took care of it too.

  37. THANK YOU for listing chiropractic as a viable option for headache relief! In so many cases including migraines, tension headache, cluster headache, post-concussion syndrome, ocular migraines, etc. chiropractic can help align the cervical spine and relieve pressure/stress on the nerves to the head and skull. It is one of the safest alternative treatments for headaches, and the literature supports it!

  38. I started having migraines about 8-9 yrs ago in my late 30s and when I adopted the primal blueprint they went away. I pretty sure they were being triggered by grains, gluten and the blood sugar swings these things induced. I can stress myself the same way with lack of sleep and missing meals the way I used to but If I stick to the primal diet I don’t get headaches anymore

  39. Pork can be a migraine trigger for me and some of my relatives. Strangely, very processed pork is ok. Bacon and certain hams are fine but anything too close to the original meat isn’t. I remember reading on the Weston Price website that processing of pork removes the trigger substance.

  40. For years, I have had week long headaches about 2 or 3 times a year. Searching for causes/commonalities, I have found that they occur when there is a change in the weather, particularly in Spring and Autumn. I feel it is a result from high barametric pressure. Has anyone else experienced this? Any ideas of remedies for this type?

  41. I began having migraines at age 29 and they continued for 9-years at the rate of 1-3 per week. The neurologist gave me Immitrex (which was a life saver) but that was only good in dealing with them at onset. By chance, a few years back I had a nasty reaction to an antibiotic and was looking for help with that. In my search I came across the Wahl’s protocol (Grok would approve of it), which I quickly adopted. While it didn’t address the primary issues I soon realized that I hadn’t had a migraine since I adopted it. Slowly introducing things back in allowed me to identify my “triggers”… almost all of which were things I probably shouldn’t be eating, one exception maybe being aged cheeses. The interesting things is the response wasn’t usually immediate, but the next day. While I try to eat clean most of the time I occasionally cave and can almost be guaranteed a headache when I do. Its almost as if my body is trying to tell me something.

  42. Mark – thank you for this. Please consider interviewing Josh Turknett MD re migraines. See his website http://www.mymigrainemiracle.com. Also his book of the same name. Dr Turknett has pretty much ‘cured’ his lifelong migraine using ancestral diet and scientifically proven methods – many of which are mentioned in the comments here, but one – gradually (or all at once if you are superhuman) STOP taking all abortive pain medications especially migraine-specific ones – ie triptans etc. For the reasons why and much more support and information join the Facebook page or the members forum. I have had huge success so far from debilitating life long migraine. A Mark’s Daily Apple interview podcast would be so helpful to all your readers with migraine. Dr Turknett references you in his book too.

  43. I have chronic tension headaches. I tried many things to help, some helped a bit, some didn’t. But the one thing that did it for me is getting treatment from a physiotherapist. It’s costly but worth every cent. Just knowing that if I have a relapse, I can go see him again is doing wonderful for my stress level.