Headaches (Or Head Aches) and
Meniere's Disease ...Why?
I frequently get requests about headaches from people
suffering from Meniere's disease. Although many
people want immediate treatments, my purpose is to help you find possible
causes and why they impact your body the way they do. This will help you to
understand your body better. This allows you to be in control of your
health. It will be you who decides if anything needs to be changed. You
alone know just how any changes will impact your life.
So, let’s explore what
goes on in your head normally. We’ll discuss the normal anatomy and
physiology. You will learn what happens when your head aches, and then there
will be some suggestions if you choose to make some changes. If you choose
not to make any changes, then at least you will have made an informed
decision. Please remember that this information is just for interest. It is
not any sort of “executive summary” of the brain and its function.
Do this interesting research in
Google. Breakup the word
“headaches. ”Enter “head” and you get 162,000,000 links. Enter “aches”...and
you get 2,080,000 links. Or try headaches and you get 6,040,000. That’s
millions of links! All for headaches! If you don’t look at all the parts
that make up the word “headaches” you will remain ignorant of many potential
choices. And as I remind you so frequently, this is YOUR body: no one
else’s. And this “ache” impacts your lifestyle and may also influence other
people’s lives. But ultimately, it is your choice where you will make
changes: no one else can do that.
Let’s begin with the obvious “normal” head. This is not
going to be a study of neurological proportions. I am keeping it at a
general discussion level. Your health care professional can help you with
drugs or other more sophisticated treatments if they are required. I want to
help you understand the incredible and resourceful machine you “live” in.
The medical community talks in terms of anatomy and physiology (A&P).
Anatomy describes the actual structures. The brain has blood vessels, masses
of “brain cells”, fluids, plus “connectors” and other parts that join all
components. Incidentally my definition of normal is the absence of disease
or problems. It does not include any genetics (birth) or inherited problems.
It also doesn’t mean any degenerative conditions. If you have been reading
this website for any length of time, you will know I feel very strongly that
degenerative conditions can be helped in a number of ways. So here we speak
only of a healthy, normal brain.
It is a bit difficult to get an ordinary or normal picture
of the brain. Most sites offer pictures and highlights of diseased ones
pertaining to their specific medical condition. Here are three sites that
are interesting and varied.
We think in terms of headaches, but in reality, we mean
something is hurting our brain. If you meant any other parts of the head,
you would mention it by its correct name. An earache, a toothache, a sinus
or nose problem, dizziness, deafness. Here we are dealing the brain: the
major structure of the head, and how it can ache.
While “anatomy” describes the different parts of the
brain, “physiology” describes the functions and interactions of those
anatomical structures. You simply can’t talk about one without recognizing
the total interaction or interdependence of the other. It function as all
other parts of your body. It takes in food, oxygen, water, and other
“components” and has to get rid of waste products. Please realize that this
is an extremely simplistic explanation, but it serves our needs right here.
Each body part has special tissue to help it do what it is
supposed to do. (Liver, spleen, bones, heart, etc.) But you don’t have to do
anything special in order for that them to do their “jobs”. All you have to
do is to provide the required nutrients, oxygen, water, and a way of getting
rid of waste products. In terms of nutrients, you need to provide
macro-nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. You also need
micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other “co-factors”.
The body also needs oxygen to maintain a normal health cycle. The body
cannot live without water, but it will be discussed a little further along.
So a normal brain would function as you would expect it
to: relaxed, consistent activities, controlled by a healthy underlying set
of “programs”. All you need to provide are the nutrients, water and oxygen.
You may be familiar with the acronym: GIGO. In our case it means Good
(things) In: Garbage Out. And that provides for a health lifestyle without
head aches. An ache would be abnormal: a distortion of routine activities.
Then you have to ask “why”. Something has obviously interfered with the GIGO
cycle. How does the body normally respond to inadequate support? It aches or
becomes irritable: for a short period of time and long-term. But for the
sake of this discussion, it will simply ache.
Most people naturally instinctively look for obvious
causes but a few just reach for the headache tablet bottle. They have little
desire to do more, or maybe they don’t realize they could do more. Let’s
pretend you are going to do some investigating.
If we use the analogy of a locomotive, we see it has a
long lifespan if it is well maintained. So does your body. Just as the
engine has hardware and software, so does your brain. Only your brain is
incredibly more powerful! The odd glitch or “ache” in a locomotive is
quickly and easily corrected. But it does demonstrate that if there is a
slight interruption in its “care and feeding”, it becomes less effective in
pulling loads of railcars and their products. Should the engine “present”
with some sort of hindrance or slowdown, everyone immediately looks for
possible causes: inside and outside. Anything on the tracks? Anything
blocking its way? Wheels OK? Is it getting enough fuel? Are all the engine
parts working as they should? So it is with your head. From what you
already know, something is preventing the regular distribution of the vital
nutrients, water and / or oxygen from reaching their destination: the cells.
Just as the locomotive engineer would search for both internal and external
possible causes, so should you examine the outside environment and the
inside of your brain.
Some external causes could include too much heat
(sunstroke) or too little (hyperthermia). Clothes might be too restrictive,
cutting off circulation or blood flow to the brain. (Collar or clothes too
small?) Could your hairdo or hat be too tight? You also might want to
recognize that if you change the outside, it may affect the inside. For
instance if you pulled your hair into a very tight shape or wore a hat that
was much too small, the underlying structures would naturally find another
path to follow. (Just like throwing a huge boulder into a small river. The
water flow changes immediately, but it still needs to flow.) Without all the
right elements going to the brain, it needs to adjust the rest of the body’s
activities to balance out its important functions. All this is done “behind
the scenes” so you aren’t even aware of it. However a quick and correct
response to a possible problem usually saves this situation and a normal
brain gets back on track right away.
Let’s look at
possible internal causes. These can be a bit trickier. The most common ones
are a lack of nutrients, water, or oxygen. Your body’s cells are made up of
a lot of fluid and for our purposes, let’s call it water. If an individual
cell is normally made up of 80% water, it stands to reason that it NEEDS
that much. So it must have it. Your tissues float in it, are surrounded by
it, and are filled by it. They are kept alive by this fluid. Your
circulatory system uses it as the main transportation method. If your body
has enough fluid/water, it is said to be well hydrated. A “lack” is known as
dehydration. And if you are drinking lots of fluids (replenishing) to bring
it back to a healthy state, you are re-hydrating your body. “Water is a
combination of hydrogen and oxygen; it is the basis for the fluids of the
If you recognize that all nutrients are “floated”
throughout your body by water, you can see how a lack of fluid might impact
your brain. This is also the mechanism by which waste products are removed.
Therefore anything interfering with this exchange could well mean an
overabundance of waste products in the cells. That could lead to other
problems. Waste is waste. It is an accumulation of unwanted products that
your body has no further use for. As soon as you interfere with the fluid
“management system” of the body, you invite a concentration of solids and
imbalances of your entire body. Many people get headaches in these
situations. Of course this could be a result of some more serious pathology
or disease happening in the actual brain. Chances are it is a direct result
of something pretty basic and simple. Most unhealthy conditions give you
hints along the way that something isn’t right. You may choose to ignore
these signals, but they still exist if one was to look more closely. The
body leaves all kinds of clues. And in most cases, this will be ongoing and
more pronounced as time goes along. But here you are searching for something
that gives you an ache once in a while. So your investigation needs to go to
the very basics...looking for something pretty obvious: inside of outside.
But once again, you are seeking clues for anything
interfering with the brains’ access to nutrients (food), water or oxygen.
Foods might be too salty, attracting a lot of extra fluid. This will
imbalance the normal water levels. Food sensitivities could set off allergic
responses, bringing unwanted fluid or body responses or even trigger an
Meniere's disease attack. Inadequate amounts of
nutrients might come about because of skipped meals or dieting. It might
mean an excess or inadequate adequate of water. Excess water may result in
washing out necessary balancing chemicals (electrolytes). Can you see how
fine the balance in your body is?
You can do all this in seconds once you realize what you
are looking for. Now you are faced with a decision…what to do about the
findings. Are you going to adjust your habits and make changes? As you mull
over this, your decision will naturally be based on your underlying
Are you an optimist? Do you have faith that something is
causing this symptom, and you will find the cause, no matter what? Or are
you a pessimist? (These people also call themselves realists. I find that
excuses them from seeking more solutions.) You resign yourself to not being
able to find solutions. You accept the fact that only drugs are the right
approach for all treatments. You tell yourself that you don’t have time to
“play around” with this problem. It’s easier and quicker to take a headache
Incidentally, chemicals are designed to do different
things. Some chemicals are made to have you “feel good” and forget the
headache. Some are designed to block the natural action of the cells. Others
are designed to increase actions of connecting activities. Still, they are
all chemicals and any chemical in your body has a side effect. And when the
chemical actions wear off, how will you feel? Will the headache returns? If
so, you will have more choices to make. None that I know are designed to
help you heal the problem. So it may be up to you to decide to become your
own detective: to search for causes and ultimately discover new solutions.
If in your investigation you thought this headache could
be caused by inadequate food/nutrient intake, or the wrong kind, or a lack
of water, would it not make more sense to correct this possibility first?
Would it be fairly easy to take a few deep breaths and try to relax where
you are? Here are a few other easy things to do. The goal is to free your
body of as many chemicals as possible! Substitute butter for margarine...use
natural sugars instead of refined ones. (And don’t be fooled by the ads for
“real sugars”.) Maybe substitute diet foods/drinks or fruit drinks for REAL
fruit juices and real foods. (Let me know if you would like a link to
information about artificial sweeteners. If you have never explored their
“makeup”, you should.) Did you realize that decaffeinated products are
filtered through many chemicals? Guess what you may be drinking? Familiarize
yourself with food processing procedures and the additives used.
You are now beginning to realize what the chemicals can do
to your health. I work with people every day that suffer from Meniere's
disease. Their lives are overpowered by
something that has upset the normal functions of their bodies. Don’t allow
yours to get to that stage. It will require patience and faith: trial and
error, but it’s doable. The results won’t come overnight, but the sooner you
understand how your body reacts to unwanted and unnatural things, the sooner
you will stay healthy. Start with baby steps. It can be done because people
do it every day. It is your awareness and decisions that result in changes.
And the changes result in long-term health. The reward is so tremendous!
Healthy at 100!!
By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.
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