In a new study from Finland, low vitamin D levels have been associated with the risk of chronic headaches. With many of us in Anchorage suffering from low vitamin D levels right now, this is an important factor to take into account if you find yourself developing more headaches than usual.
Low Vitamin D Is Common
The findings fome as part of the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD), which includes about 2600 men age 42-64 when the data was collected in 1984-1989. The data has been reexamined in the light of this new question to see what insights it yielded. Men from the original study who were lacking either headache data or vitamin D levels were excluded.
Researchers found that 68% of the men studied had low levels of vitamin D.
A much smaller fraction, 250 men (9.6%), had chronic headaches, at least once a week. Men who reported chronic headache tended to have lower vitamin D levels than those that didn’t report headaches. Then researchers divided the study population into four groups based on their vitamin D levels, they found that the group with the lowest vitamin D levels were twice as likely to report chronic headaches than those with the highest vitamin D levels. They also found that headache risk was seasonal. Men who were examined outside the summer months of June through September were more likely to report chronic headaches.
Will Vitamin D Help Your Headaches?
If you get chronic headaches that seem to get worse in the winter, you should consider whether low vitamin D levels might be to blame. One way to test the theory is to improve your intake of vitamin D. The easiest source for vitamin D is fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon.
If you don’t like fish, probably the best way to get vitamin D is with fortified foods. Otherwise, you can take vitamin D supplements.
If Vitamin D Doesn’t Help Your Headaches
If you try improving vitamin D intake and your headaches don’t improve, you should consider other possible causes. One common cause of chronic headaches is TMJ. TMJ causes headaches because it puts your jaw joints and muscles out of harmony. This leads to excess stress in your jaw muscles and tension on your jaw joints. Since your jaw muscles are the largest muscles in your head and stretch all the way to the sides of your head behind your eyes, this can easily lead to headaches. In TMJ, the muscles can also sometimes pinch branches of the trigeminal nerve, which can lead to migraines.
If your headaches are accompanied by other TMJ symptoms, such as jaw pain, jaw joint sounds, tinnitus, and teeth wear, then it’s likely TMJ is to blame for your headaches.
TMJ treatment can resolve headaches and other symptoms without drugs. To learn whether TMJ treatment can help your headache, please call (907) 349-0022 today for an appointment with an Anchorage TMJ dentist at Excellence in Dentistry.