Happy almost Monday: What is up with ADHD and headaches?
Happy Tuesday, folks! I didn’t get around to posting yesterday, since I was seriously tired and just had a million other things to do (most of which I didn’t get done, either… more on that later).
I’m still getting used to the feeling of being newly engaged, while also having been semi-planning the wedding for at least a year. Which is considerably stranger than I thought it would be. And in some respects more stressfull (no, future mother in law, I don’t need all your suggestions for kind of stuffy, definitely overpriced places I have never been to, I’ve already done my own research on reception venues for MY wedding…..), but it’s also fun to finally get to really plan this thing. Also, we picked up fiancé’s engagement ring yesterday (since I proposed right back to him, which was cool and more people should do it), and he likes it a lot. Plus, now he, who has never, ever in his life worn a ring before, gets to practice a bit for wearing a wedding ring. Which is good, because he is considerably stressed about that. Brains are weird, I guess.
Now for the actual subject of this post: What on earth is up with ADHD brains and headaches?! I’ve been having headaches quite frequently latey, most from tension in my shoulders, neck, and jaw, some from obvious sensory overload, some seemingly out of nowhere. And it makes me wonder, how much of this is caused by my ADHD?
Welllllllllll…. In all honesty, I could do a lot of research on this, but I’m tired, and cranky, and hungry, so I won’t. The sum up of what I could find out so far, is that tension headaches may or may not be correllated with ADHD, but they probably are. And considering that ADHD is caused by genetics, the most likely explanations are a) the tension headaches are caused by ADHD, in which case this should be adressed more, because they can make life extremely difficult, or b) they are caused by another factor, which might possibly have some connection to ADHD. Either way, I would love to see more research being conducted in this direction. (And not just into “does this happen to ADHD kids”, because, hello, ADHD adults exist, and we’re just as screwed if we have super frequent headaches.)
Another type of headache (or head pain, more precisely) are migraines. I can’t find the article right now (because I’m not looking, you can all use google), but I definitely read a research article where it said that migraines could very likely be linked to ADHD, since they are often triggered by sensory overload, which in turn is often a symptom of ADHD. So basically, if you’re experiencing symptoms of a migraine, that might be caused by your ADHD. (Which doesn’t mean that having ADHD is necessary to get migraines.) I’d love to see more research there, too.
You see, I’ve been dealing with headaches for my entire life. I had regular headaches before I even started school. And it isn’t fun. Like yesterday. I mean, yeah, okay, I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep yesterday (thanks, brain…), but I wasn’t feeling all that bad when I strated the day. I had blood drawn at my doctor’s office, which went so smoothly I hardly realized it was happening. I got home, took an overly long lunch break, then started packing up the rest of the Christmas decorations (I even filmed a bit, but sadly, my phone stopped filming half way through, because the battery was too low), and then I was going to exercise. Or clean. Or do whatever. All I actually managed to do, was research bridal stores, and make an appointment. Because then, my head decided that I was done for the day.
At first it wasn’t even that bad. It was definitely a tension headache, so I tried to stretch a bit. Took a nap. Thought I was okay. But it just got worse, until I suddenly realized that the thing that was making me feel awful and exhausted was my head. And the massive headache I had by then. So I lay down, took an Ibuprofen, and hoped for the best. And, I mean, it worked. The headache ultimately stopped (or I stopped feeling it, which is probably way closer to what truly happened). The exhaustion stayed with me.
I still went with the fiancé to pick up his ring, and I even made dinner and prepared dinner for today (which I hadn’t done, had I known that I was going to be home all day…). The point is, these headaches keep ruining my days, and torpedoeing my productivity. They make working in a relatively loud environment, like a kindergarden class, seriously miserable. They just suck.
So I would really, really, really love to know what the hell is up with that. Is it part of my ADHD? Is it something that I could get accomodations for, if it was? (Because, let’s be honest, “it’s just a headache” is a pretty common sentiment in our society.)(But also, a few months back I got a pretty massive headache while I was at work at a daycare facility, and my lovely colleagues were super nice, and even told me to go lie down for a while, so that also happens.) And most importantly, what do I dooooooooooo?
The obvious answer would be: Exercise. More muscles means less muscle tension, over all. Or stretch. Except exercising often takes a lot more executive function skills than I can muster, and stretching doesn’t seem to do anything for me. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but really, how the hell would I know?
I also wish this was something that doctors, especially the so called “experts”, neurologists and psychiartrists, would talk about more. I feel like it’s pretty obvious that headaches are at least a common enough problem in ADHD people, and it definitely has enough impact on our lives, that they should ask about it. Personally, I’ve so far only thought to ask my neurologist about the two times I had a migraine style aura, but no headache to come with it. I’ve never really thought to even question whether or not there is any connection between tension headaches and ADHD, because tension headaches in adults are, at least in my experience, not taken seriously by anyone except the people who deal with them. “Just exercise.” “You need more neck muscles.” “Can’t you just stretch?” And my favorite: “Why would you take a pain killer for a headache? I have never taken a painkiller in my life.” (This last one, obviously, comes from men, since most women have used a painkiller at least once, because periods suck and cause all kinds of extra pain.)
So, to sum this up: Headaches suck, and the fact that they might be linked to ADHD sucks even more. Someone please tell me what to do about them.
Okay. What else?
I’ve written, but not yet finished my first post on ADHD wedding planning. I’m planning on making that a regular thing, with both just basic “this is what wedding planning is like for me” posts, but also with some advice posts for things that will hopefully make this experience easier for me (and you).
The new season of Brooklyn 99 is here, and I have to say, while it was fun, I was a little disappointed with the first episode of season 6. I don’t know why, but it didn’t manage to make me laugh, genuinely, even once. I sencirely hope this will get better.
And last but not least, I would like to remind everyone to check their bank accounts, since it’s now mid-january, and all your january bills should have been paid, so it’s a good time to check if there is still any money left for food and stuff. (I actually don’t know how this works elsewhere, but here, bills for insurances etc. are automatically paid, so I actually need to keep an eye on my account, to make sure I didn’t forget something.)
Okay, that’s it for today. Have a great, headache free, week everyone!
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