So, let’s get this straight – a headache is not a disease. It is the loud, persistent and painful voice of a body living with chronic stress, toxic blood, physiological imbalances and/or trauma.
It turns out that there are many bodies crying out for help in the United States:
- 45 million Americans experience chronic headaches.[i]
- Nearly 90% of the population experiences occasional headache pain.[ii]
- People seeking treatment for headache pain account for 8 million consultations with physicians annually.[iii]
- Migraine headaches alone account for an estimated 157 million days lost from work.[iv]
I was shocked when I first learned the above headache stats, and decided that I wanted to reach out to people in my community who were sick and tired of living with headaches, and who preferred to do something other than take drugs that were only masking their pain. In other words, people who were ready to take charge.
I decided to create a class that could help headache sufferers in my town identify what triggered their headaches (from a list of over 60 possible causes) and what type of headache they suffered from. Without this knowledge, it is very difficult for someone to make lifestyle changes that will bring about lasting results and/or for a therapist to design a targeted session of reflexology and massage protocols that can provide relief.
After having taught two of these community-based classes, I realized that I could actually help more people if I made the material available to licensed bodyworkers, who could in turn provide hands-on therapy, one-on-one coaching and/or lead small classes themselves in their own communities. Thus was born the 1-day, Say Goodbye to Headaches continuing education class.
Cephalgia (a headache) is defined as pain in the head and/or neck, and is classified as either episodic or chronic. Episodic headaches are triggered by a specific episode of stress; chronic headaches are frequent or even daily, associated with ongoing stress.
Headaches are categorized according to their symptoms, the area of the head that is afflicted, the frequency and intensity of the episode. The International Headache Society lists 200 causes of headaches. They separate the causes into three main categories: Primary, Secondary and Cranial Neuralgia/Primary Facial Pain/Other.
The United States National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (part of the National Institutes of Health) simplifies the IHS list into Primary and Secondary headaches, incorporating the neuralgia and facial headaches into one or the other two (mostly Primary). To make matters worse, many people experience more than one type of headache.
Primary Headache Pain
Primary headache disorders are said to occur independently, in that they result from changes in blood vessels, nerves and muscles, not as a secondary response to disease or injury. The most familiar primary headaches are associated with stress: migraine, cluster, and tension. A rebound or MOH (Medication Overuse Headache) is considered primary. Massage therapy and reflexology are very effective approaches to stress-related headaches, because they help restore optimal circulation and relax both muscular and nervous tissue.
Secondary Headache Pain
Secondary headaches are actually symptoms of underlying disorders or diseases, such as high blood pressure, injury, dental infections, earaches, sinus infections, psychiatric problems, chronic constipation, hormonal imbalance etc. Pain is the body’s way of communicating that something needs attention. This is the area in which reflexology can be very helpful, since reflexology works to support the health and functionality of the body’s organs and systems.
Cranial Neuralgia/Primary Facial Pain/Other
The causes of these headaches are many times idiopathic and affect the nerves that enervate the face and head. The trigeminal nerve (CN-V) and the glossopharyngeal nerve (CN-XII) are often implicated. Neuralgia is nerve pain occurring without stimulation of the nociceptors (pain receptor cells). A cold temperature stimulus (such as eating ice cream or being in an extremely cold environment) can act as a trigger.
Transform Lives – Transform Your Practice
If you would like to learn how to transform the lives of people living with head pain, and transform a sluggish practice into a thriving, focused business, please join me in Gainesville, Florida on Saturday, May 10th for Say Goodbye to Headaches. In addition to designing individualized hands-on session protocols utilizing reflexology, massage, hydro and aromatherapy, you will leave with the materials and skills needed to coach one-on-one or offer small classes in your community to those people who are sick and tired of living with headaches