Diet can have a role in chronic daily headaches in food intolerance. The diet is not a neat and tidy list of foods. What is right for a particular person can be clarified with diet investigation using the diet detective process which allows each person to develop their own diet. This can be part of the natural cures for headaches. The foods that contribute to the headaches are somewhat different in different people. To make it more complex there are no tests to show which foods may contribute. Research on diet for headaches has not received the publicity that foods that cause migraine or natural remedies for ADHD. The foods that cause headaches do not seem directly connected to the usual foods implicated in migraine. This is because they are chronic daily headaches and so it is more difficult to know when a headache starts in relation to a particular food. Research on headache treatments has shown that food additives, natural chemicals, and whole foods may all be contributors. Smells matter too. We can begin with this knowledge of the usual suspects and work towards the diet that is best for each individual.
As well as having less publicity people who have chronic daily headaches usually do not receive the sympathy that migraine sufferers get. Their headaches are less severe so sufferers can do their usual work, though with more effort. The headaches may change in their severity but unlike migraines they are there every day. Their presence really affects the sufferers as they know that their normal abilities are significantly affected. The chronic daily headaches interfere with the enjoyment of all aspects of life. They can spoil everyday activities such as enjoyment of close relationships and family life, and they can take the edge off all outings and special occasions. And they are painful! Pain management becomes an important part of their lives.
While pain killers do help diet can be part of the natural cures for headaches. Each person can use the diet detective process to find their own diet and reduce the need for painkillers. They can fill out the useful Family Sensitivity History to give clues as to foods or environmental factors that are important in their family. They then limit the family clue foods as well as all the suspect foods known from the research to give their own Family Elimination Diet and follow the diet detective process to find their own headache treatments. Where family members have other food intolerance or sensitivity symptoms, particularly IBS, eczema, or migraine, the likelihood that diet will have a positive outcome is high. People often think that food sensitivity symptoms occur just on their own but many people have a variety of symptoms including the usual ones, as well as fatigue, sleep problems, mood changes, foggy thinking or ADHD in children. The bonus with diet detective work is that not only may the headaches change but some of the other symptoms may improve as well.
After greatly reducing or curing their chronic daily headaches the patients often remark on their realisation that this headache free existence is what everyone else always has! They presumed that most people had a life with some headaches at least.
Some chronic daily headaches are related to sinus problems. Sometimes people feel that gut symptoms should be related to whole food such as wheat or milk, and sinus or headaches should be related to inhalants or smells. Through research including the diet detective method we found that each person can react to their own combination of whole food, additives, food chemicals and environmental factors such as stress, spring pollen, or smells. By using this idea of the Total Body Load each person become a diet detective and as they work through the diet detective process find out how to manage their chronic daily headaches. Information about the Family Sensitivity History, the Total Body Load and the Diet Detective Process is available in Are You Food Sensitive?
This is the first post I’ve seen linking daily chronic headaches to food intolerances. I’ve had daily headaches for about eight months. After two GPs, a chiropractor and 2 months of acupuncture I went to an allergist and received the scratch test food allergy panel. It turns out I am sensitive to 38 out o 80 foods tested – and I don’t know about other foods. At first I was actually hopeful – there was a reason for the pain! I have eliminated so many of my favorite foods and I’m actually afraid I’ll be malnourished because so few vegetables are safe. I still react to at least have of what I’m eating. I’m quickly becoming discouraged. I’ve heard about leaky gut and wonder if that is the problem. How do I fix it? I wish the medical community knew more. I feel pretty lost. Any thoughts?
Dear Sarah, Putting up with headaches every day really interferes with living a normally comfortable life, but people with migraines often get more sympathy. Chronic daily headaches are not usually associated with allergy except where sinus problems result from inhalant allergens. But, as you have found, they can be associated with foods as well. The good news is that allergy tests are the beginning of the phase of diet investigation. They show the body is reactive, but not that all the foods need to be excluded forever. Over time you can test those that you want to try using the new thinking. This is to start with very, very, small amounts of your favourite food and increase over days to desensitise yourself, and then keep a very small amount of that food in your diet every day once you tolerate it.
But there seems to be another part to your story, and that is that even if you try to exclude all the foods that were positive on the allergy list you still feel you are reacting. It is no wonder you can feel lost. This part says that it might be wise to add on another way to investigate diet. This is to do what the patients in my research have found useful. That is to use the Diet Detective approach to investigate your headaches. Do read the article on the Family Sensitivity History as that gives you clues which are as important as allergy tests https://foodintolerancepro.com/category/food-intolerance/the-family-sensitivity-history/
Then you can obtain Are You Food Sensitive? from this website and use it to guide you through the process. This approach covers chemicals in additives and foods that most often cause headaches in food sensitive people.
Keep your allergy tests handy and exclude any you really feel do cause headaches, otherwise follow the diet detective process, and after four weeks you have a baseline to test various food from. Those test foods can be any of your favourite foods. My book Tolerating Troublesome Foods gives hints on over 300 foods showing how to test them so you have the best chance of tolerance. The process is tricky but worth the effort. The other tricky part is that often foods you think may help, such as tea or mints, are foods that actually produce headaches 24 hours later, so it is no wonder you didn’t suspect them before. I also suspect the allergy tests did not suggest attending to smells in your environment. That is also explained in Are You Food Sensitive?
I feel for you. It is so frustrating that the medical community do not understand food sensitivity. We do not know what the mechanism is but if you look at the articles on my site you will see that it is more likely to be slower metabolism of these food chemicals such that the increased amounts of the metabolites, [some call them toxins], interfere with body functions and cause symptoms. This is because each person has their own symptoms and end up on their own diet after testing many suspect foods. You can do what others do: use my books and when you find them useful tell your doctor so he or she understands what is happening for you. I wish you well in your diet detective work! Joan
Hello everybody, here every one is sharing such familiarity,
so it’s nice to read this webpage, and I used to
go to see this website all the time.
i have daily headache of which now i dont know what to do about it ive seen a neurologist he just discovered stress ,bt iam not stressed i dont know what exactly is it.please help mybe it the type of food im eating or drinks i dont know.
Do read around this site in the Articles section. https://foodintolerancepro.com/articles/ Read the article on Chronic Daily Headaches, The Family sensitivity history, What diet do I begin with? and any other articles that may be relevant to you, perhaps the one on Pain as a food sensitivity symptom.
The only way to find out if food is causing your headaches is to run a trial elimination diet. All the information you need is in Are You Food Sensitive? It is worth going through the process once in your life so you can find out if you really should attend to food for your headaches or if food has no role. If your headaches do not happen when other things change such as stress, or neck problems it is really worth investigating diet. My apologies for not answering earlier but this website had some problems. All the best to you! Joan
I have daily headaches and I did a food intolerance test and the doctor came up with a list of foods I do not tolerate.
it’s been over a week now and I still have the same intensity of pain even though i have eliminated all the foods I was asked to avoid.
Would you know about how long it should take to start feeling any relief?
Thanks in advance.
Dear Anne, It would be unusual and lucky if your doctor was able to be sure about just which food were important for you right at the start. If you were lucky and the diet was mostly right then you can expect to feel the same amount of pain, or even much worse, dring the first and even the second week with a lessoning of symptoms in the third week. Many patients say they did not notice real relief until into the fourth week. If the diet is not exactly right but heading in the right direction you may get useful change but not as good as possible. So you can go in either of two directions: one is to work on your own and just test each one of the excluded foods and see which are really necessary. If you use my new book ‘Tolerating Troublesome Foods’ you can learn many hints on just how to test foods, so you have the maximum chance of tolerating them, plus lots of other information on understanding adverse reactions to food. The other direction to take is to learn that each person’s diet is just theirs. You can look the Articles section and read articles and check out ‘Are You Food Sensitive?’ so you get a good starting point and follow through the process with all the detail provided in the book. Remember that the diet for each person is not the same as anyone else’s. All the best with what I call ‘diet detective work’. Regards Joan