Hunting Headaches – A Favorable Trend

In the last installment of Hunting Headaches, I reported that I finally appeared to be making some progress on solving my night headaches. By wearing a mouth guard, I was able to reduce my headache intensity by 45%. For those new to the site, I use spreadsheets to track health metrics. This allows me to figure what experiments work for me and which don’t.

During the month I went without coffee, my headache intensity dropped again to just 0.58. Even though my sleep quality was actually worse, it was my best month ever. To the data!

Headache Intensity is measured from 0 to 5.

My headache intensity using a mouth guard with normal caffeine was 0.82. This covered August and September. Since adding a little caffeine back, my sleep has started to improve a little without an uptick in headache intensity. But I’ll need more data to confirm that. My average headache intensity for my lower caffeine period of October and November is just 0.57. That is another 32% decrease. I now suspect that excessive caffeine is a factor in my headaches. I hope I’m on the right path. I should know in another month or two.

Comments

  1. Becky says

    Perhaps since caffeine is a stimulant it causes you to grit your teeth more? Maybe this is a multifactorial problem?

  2. Jim says

    MAS,
    With Coffee possibly worsening your headaches, I was reminded of an old M*A*S*H episode. Hawkeye tells the British Major that the British tradition of giving tea to wounded soldiers leads to peritonitis. The Major’s response: “I’ll take it up to higher authorities. But I don’t know…if it was anything but tea.” :-)

  3. says

    I am working on a Unified Theory to my headaches, but I’ll need a few more months worth of data to confirm.

  4. Ahrand says

    Here is another wacky thing I’m finding works suprinsingly well :
    - limit blue light exposure during sundown (I already did that as good as possible)
    - maximize red light exposure before sleep (this is new)

    There are cheap devices that emit red light with no added heat (a bonus if you want to maximize exposure) : e.g. http://www.syrolight.com/biostick
    I stare directly into its beam 100s long before going to sleep and I do feel more energetic in the mornings and seem to have less headaches the day after.
    It improves when I continue doing this.

    I think it forces my my carcadian rythem to realign and thus limit the eveningtime cortisol (which I think is the root cause here)

    As I’m a bad self experimenter (I do not objectively track improvements) I wanted you to just let you now about what I have found as you know I suffer from the same evening headaches.

  5. Ahrand says

    Light from fire is surprisingly full spectrum (even UV !).
    You need LLLT (Low Level Laser Therapy) wavelengths type light to achieve this.
    The biostick uses 630 nm.

    These lasers generate minimal heat so you can actually watch it minutes long, anything that generates heat is difficult to watch.

    Friends and family have also noticed an uptick in cheerfulness :-)

  6. Iskander says

    MAS, hi. Me and my mom had persistent headaches which typically appeared after lunch, together with a feeling of tiredness. We somehow figured out a potential reason — bad arteries, and started walking+stairs climbing (I live on 19th, she — on the 9th floor). After 6 months of 1-hour-a-day + stairs I forgot about the headache. My mom — after about 9 months.

    I understand you are not quite a strong believer in walking, but hope it will help.

    Reason 2: I have neck ostheochondrosis (excuse my speling) and all my friends-doctors say it is another very common reason for the headache. I read your posts and do not remember you brought up the neck issue, so perhaps it will be of help.

    Cheers!

  7. Iskander says

    I forgot to mention that in the first case it was also an abnormally low blood pressure, both me and my mom. I read somewhere that the capillars become flat when it is low BP, so they do not let blood to brain.

    Sometimes when the headache came early in the morning I measured BP right after I woke up and it was like 105-65. I found a connection between low BP and HA. So if you tend to have low BP, then boosting it every day with stairs-walking might help normalize it and eliminate headache.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] By the summer of 2012, I was still medicating with Coke Zero whenever I got an extreme headache. Then I noticed that my headaches would go away at the same rate regardless of if I drank a cola or not. So I stopped drinking diet colas. Later I discovered that lowering my coffee intake would be more effective in reducing headache frequency. [...]