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It’s all in your head – Part 1: Chronic headaches

This is the first of a 3-part series with a focus on health ‘above the neck’. Future articles will focus on brain fog, memory loss and anxiety and depression.

Chronic Headaches

Many of my patients mention how other health care practitioners make them feel like many of their concerns are ‘all in their heads’ insinuating that what they are feeling is possibly mental not physical.

Occasionally there are psychosomatic (mental impacting the physical) issues, but it often just takes a little more digging to determine the root cause of various illnesses.

In this months article, I will address a common complaint that does impact the head.

Chronic Headaches: migraines, tension, cluster, hormonal, sinus… there are a number of types of headaches, but regardless of the type, they all impact our daily lives and can lead to reliance on common over the counter pain medications.

Common causes of headaches: There are a number of causes of headaches such as dehydration, fatigue, low blood sugar levels, nutrient deficiencies, allergies, food sensitivities, eye-strain, muscle tension, stress, trauma/concussion or tumour.   Proper treatment depends on finding out the root cause.

Tried and true treatments

After ruling out any serious causes such as a tumour or post-concussion syndrome, here are some successful strategies to treat headaches:


  • To avoid dehydration, ensure you drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water each day (if you weigh 150lbs, drink 75oz of water daily).
  • For every caffeinated beverage you drink, drink 2 glasses of water as caffeine is a diuretic.


  • Ensure you eat regularly and incorporate both protein and fat at every meal to keep blood sugars stable since low blood sugars trigger headaches.
  • Avoid foods containing tyramine, an amino acid known to cause headaches, such as aged cheeses, smoked meats, beer, wine, and chocolate. 
  • Dairy is one of the WORST offenders for headaches, especially sinus headaches.  Try to avoid all dairy products for 2 weeks to determine if this is a cause.


  • This is one of the most important nutrients and is commonly deficient in most people.  When we are under any kind of stress our bodies need much more of this mineral. A common indication of magnesium deficiency is cramping and twitching muscles, as well as headaches
  • Foods sources of this mineral are found in leafy greens, whole grains, almonds and sunflower seeds.
  • Taking 250mg of Magnesium bisglycinate daily can go along way to reducing headaches by eliminating deficiencies, reducing stress and relaxing tight muscles


  • This safe and painless 3000-year old therapy is incredibly effective for reducing chronic headaches.
  • There is evidence showing a reduction of frequency and severity of headaches, similar or superior to the effect of medication.
  • Acupuncture is especially effective for sinus, stress and hormone-induced headaches.

As a Naturopathic Doctor, I’m trained and licensed to perform acupuncture and find it incredibly effective for headaches as well as many other concerns.

I hope that this article has been helpful for those of you suffering from headaches.  

For more information do not hesitate to contact me at or 306-224-0012.

In health,

Dr Wendy

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