Karin & David Henderson

21362 River Road

Maple Ridge, B.C.

Canada V2X 2B3

604-463-8666 (PST)

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Email or Phone Karin and David With Your Questions About Meniere's Disease

Meniere's Disease and Headaches (Or Head Aches) and Why You May be Getting Them

I frequently get questions from people with Meniere's disease that are also suffering from headaches.  Although many people want immediate treatments, my goal is also to help you find possible causes for your symptoms 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 how this may be a symptom of Meniere's disease, 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 our Meniere's disease 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 functions as all other parts of your body. It takes in food, oxygen, water, and other “components” and has to get rid of waste products.  This interaction can also help us to understand the cause and effect of Meniere's disease symptoms better.  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
  • A way of getting rid of waste products

In terms of nutrients, you need to provide macro-nutrients such as

  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Fats

You also need micronutrients such as;

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Enzymes
  • 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, headache, or your Meniere's disease symptoms, 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. We encounter this a lot when we are answering emails from people suffering with Meniere's disease.  So, 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
  • Too little heat - 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?

Sometimes, 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.)  This also explains why there could be a link between Meniere's disease and blood pressure.

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 body” Medline.

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.  This imbalance may even be triggering your Meniere's disease symptoms.

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, such as a Meniere's disease attack, or a headache. 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, or a symptom, 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 a 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 personality.

Are you an optimist? Do you have faith that something is causing this symptom, Meniere's disease related, or a different 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 pill.

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.

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?

The goal is to free your body of as many chemicals as possible! Here are a few other easy things to do;

  • 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.



Additional Information


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