Is there any real connection between stress and headaches as we begin to age?
The answer to this question, according to the National Headache Foundation, is both yes and no.
There is a connection with pressure, and there are some connections with aging, but one of the most common forms, migraines, begins to diminish after the age of 40 for most people.
However, one form does not.
Here are some very interesting facts about stress and headaches and a possible connection.
Contrary to years of misconception, migraine is not the most common form, the tension form is.
This is where the connection between stress and headaches begins to emerge, and as all of begin to age; we need more than ever to control any type of unneeded pressure in our lives.
If you are a caregiver, like my wife and I were for almost 8 years, the pressure from this can easily trigger the tension form, especially for the major caregiver.
My wife never had any issues with headaches, but the pressure over time of caring for a parent begins to take its toll, and my wife was no exception.
However, we were fortunate in that we found a great homeopathic pharmacist that gave my wife and me several tips on how to control them.
There are four major types or forms and they include the following;
The connection between stress and headaches begins with Migraine’s.
This form can easily be triggered by pressure, but in the majority of cases, this is not the primary cause. In addition, while they are considered to be the most severe form, they are not.
However, they can be quite severe and in some cases, put us out of operation from 12 to as long as 72 hours.
They will in most all cases affect only one side of our head and any type of movement, especially walking, can make them debilitating.
Once they become this severe the only real way to relieve the pain is to stay in bed until the pain subsides, as any type of light can also intensify them.
The Secondary forms cover any type that is the result of something much more sinister, such as a tumor or a stroke.
As we get into our 70’s and 80”s they become more common simply because of our subjectivity to strokes, but they are also not believed to be related to any type of pressure.
Although considered to be rare, by far and away the most serious form is the Cluster form, and they will hit us very quickly and violently.
They also affect only one side of our head, and can be so violent that they can make the affected side eye bloodshot within hours.
Women are also more likely to develop these then men, and most women say they are worse than childbirth on the pain meter.
They are also not related to any type of pressure or stress, and are believed to be caused by a chemical reaction of some kind in our brain.
The final of the types, the Tension form, is where the link between stress and headaches really begin to emerge.
One of the major reasons, unlike Migraines, which decrease once we hit 40, these can actually increase and affect us more commonly as we get older, unless we reduce the “pressure”.
Here are the most common symptoms of the Tension form.
This form is by far and away the most common, and will affect about 35% of all people worldwide at least every 60 days.
The most common cause of this form is pressure of some kind, and this is where stress and headaches really comes into focus.
The reason for this is quite simple; they feel like a tightness of some kind has taken over in our head, generally the forehead, as well as our shoulders and neck area.
However, they also have another connection; in most cases if the pressure subsides, so do they.
They are not anywhere near as severe and they do not “stop us dead in our tracks” like the other forms do.
In fact, even though they can still be painful and a nuisance, we can easily still go about our everyday activities.
However, what is interesting about this form is what we learned for out homeopathic pharmacist, is what he believed actually triggered them, and then what he recommended.
Here is what he told us were the most common causes with stress and headaches.
Trying to manage the pressure, especially for my wife as the main caregiver, was very difficult at first.
But these forms of headaches were hitting her quite regularly at this point, so we decided to give her a day off every 4-5 days.
We would have someone come in and take over while she got totally away. She walked, started to exercise again, and started to listen to music a lot more.
Music can and does relieve pressure very easily.
Both of us also stated to work on our posture and simply made an effort to stand up straight as well as set up straight, instead of slumping.
If you step back and think about it, one of the most common links to all of us as we age, is our posture.
If you are losing sleep, especially at our age, we are asking for trouble as well as hunger and waiting too long to eat.
As we get older, we need to eat less but more often, and this is one of the reasons why.
The mineral Iron helps to send oxygen to our blood and allows it to travel to our brain. If we are low in oxygen, it can and does lead to headaches.
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