Overview of Headaches

Josephine Adamson, MD, MPH, CMT


wellness Wednesday blog05-20-015

Headaches are one of the most common symptoms people have. A 2015 study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reports that more than 12 million people visit their doctor because of a headache. The scientists reviewed data from more than 9,000 headache visits from otherwise healthy people and found that orders for expensive tests like head CT and MRIs had doubled over the past 10 years. The study also revealed that 18% of patients continued to receive prescriptions for opioids and barbiturates.


Lead author John Mafi, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, was most concerned by the decline in the number of physicians counseling patients during the decade studied, especially since current evidence-based guidelines in both Internal Medicine and Family Medicine have recommended lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, to combat and prevent headaches. Mafi's colleague, neurologist Carolyn Bernstein, MD, pointed out in an interview on National Public Radio (NPR, May 2015) that common triggers for headaches include poor diet, too much sugar, alcohol, sleep deprivation, stress, and lack of exercise.


CAUSES: Edgar Cayce gave readings for hundreds of people who suffered from headaches. Rarely did the readings attribute the cause of headaches to a problem in the brain. Like the Beth Israel study 75 years later, the Cayce readings indicated that poor diet, constipation, stress, and decreased immune and circulatory functioning were frequent causes of headache.


TREATMENT: Both the readings and the scientific study recommended using over-the-counter remedies like aspirin, which is derived from compounds in willow bark, for pain relief.  Several readings (see Edgar Cayce reading 140-7) recommended herbal formulas that contain chamomile and valerian, both of which are known calming agents. Following a healthy diet (263-16), sleeping well, avoiding dehydration, and preventing constipation are cornerstones of modern medical headache therapy and the holistic recommendations found in the Cayce readings.


A.R.E. Spa MassageThe Cayce readings offered additional therapies including massage with an emphasis on nerve coordination and osteopathic adjustments when needed. The wet cell appliance, castor oil packs, and cool compresses are other suggested headache remedies described in the readings. The readings' emphasis on positive attitude and higher spiritual ideals is echoed in modern studies1 that show fewer headaches in those who practice mindfulness and meditation.

Though adopting healthier habits is not always easy, the payoff is worth it-for everyone, not just headache sufferers!

(Benson, Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain Volume 13, Issue 1, pages 23-24, April 1973.)


JJosephine Adamson, MDJosephine B. Adamson, MD, MPH, CMT, is the Medical Director for Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. She received her MD from Duke University’s School of Medicine and Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of North Carolina and is a graduate of the Cayce/Reilly® School of Massage. A former director and co-owner of a medical device company, she has a wealth of experience creating and maintaining health-related non- profit and for-profit businesses. She joined A.R.E. as part of the organization’s renewed focus on the health information, one of the most important, enduring legacies from the Edgar Cayce readings. She is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the health outreach and administration and interfacing with the stellar staff of the Cayce/Reilly School of Massage—which provides a comprehensive education in the art and science of therapeutic massage—and the holistic A.R.E. Health Center & Spa—which provides holistic therapies to clients from around the world in its oceanfront Virginia Beach, Va., setting complete with a Café.