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Is Your Bucket Overflow Causing Your Headache?

Is Your Bucket Overflow Causing Your Headache?

To Prevent Headaches... Master the Art of Managing Your Bucket.

Headache sufferers often learn over time what triggers their headaches. Sometimes it's a change in barometric pressure, a particular food like red wine or aged cheese, fluorescent lights, dehydration, or a stressful event. These are a few examples. Although there can be a single thing that consistently sets off a headache for someone, oftentimes it's a combination of factors over time that will lead to the potential headache on a particular day. Let me explain...

Imagine your body's nervous system (the alarm system ) is a collection of 400 individual nerves spanning 45 miles long that are all connected like a collection of roads. These nerves monitor your body and inform your brain of what's going on in your body. The nerves gather information about temperature, stress, movement, immunity, and blood flow and they let the brain know about different kinds of stressors in the body. 

Sometimes this alarm system can be extra sensitive or it has been overwhelmed with multiple danger or threat messages and that can trigger an alarm in your body to go off. Often the alarm is in the form of pain. This is the brains' way of capturing your attention so that you can take care of a problem that might be causing your body harm. A headache can be an example of that pain or that alarm going off.

Now imagine a bucket of water. The water represents all the stressor messages that nerves are gathering from the body. If that water level stays below the lip of the bucket... you manage to stay headache-free. If that water level gets too high, it is going to overflow the bucket leading to (you guessed it)... a headache. 

If you can master the art of managing your bucket by learning what fills your bucket (for the worse) and what empties your bucket (for the better), you can have a positive effect of preventing headaches.

Here are some examples of things that can fill or empty your bucket...


What we consume can have a profound effect on our bodies. There are certain foods as mentioned before that can trigger headaches. Also, think about how our diet can adversely affect or stress our bodies. I'm talking about alcohol consumption, an inflammatory diet, skipping meals, and dehydration. All these things fill the bucket. 

Now here are some ways that you can empty your bucket through diet. Don't skip meals to maintain a stable blood sugar level throughout the day. Drink enough water, for most people, this is more than 8 cups of water per day. Eat a natural anti-inflammatory healthy diet. 



For many, exercise is a way to destress, improve blood flow and release happy feel-good chemicals in our brain. So exercise is a great way to empty your bucket. But for some, certain types of exercise can be stressful on their bodies. Excessive exercise can certainly be counterproductive and cause more stress on the body. In these cases, exercise could be adding to the bucket. 


Emotional Stress

It makes sense that emotional stress can be one of those things that can fill your bucket and fill it rather steadily. Some examples are work stress, relationship stress, and situational stress (death in the family, loss of a job, etc)... to name a few. There are a lot of easy and quick ways to manage your stress and empty your buckets like meditation, yoga, exercise, a warm bath, and breathing techniques. 



Awareness of your energy and the energy around you is another great way to learn what fills and what empties your bucket. What do I mean by this? Some things drain our energy, like prolonged sitting and working at a computer desk, laying on the couch for hours watching the news, doing something you don't enjoy, or talking to someone who is needy and draining. Other things can add to your energy like a walk outside in nature, spending time with people you love, and doing things you enjoy.

Some scenarios and circumstances do require some people to get professional help to address some of the factors that are filling their bucket. Some examples would be seeing a psychotherapist or clinical social worker for counseling, seeing a clinician trained in biofeedback for decreasing muscle tension, or seeing a physical therapist to address a long-standing pain problem or loss of function that is getting in the way of an active lifestyle. Don't hesitate to seek the help that you need.

Many things are within our control and if you can learn the art of managing your bucket... you will undoubtedly prevent some of your headaches and their effect on your life. 

Check out Dr. Tamer Issa's book, Freedom From Neck & Back Pain- Learn to Live an Active Life Without Fear of Pain