People with excess adrenaline often suffer from frequent headaches. Adrenaline can give rise to muscle tension in different areas of the body. When the tension is localized to the neck—not an uncommon place to feel tension—it can cause traction headaches, also known as tension headaches. One type of traction headache, called occipital neuritis, is often mistaken for a migraine headache because the pain can be severe. However, a migraine is characterized by a pulsating type of pain, while the pain of occipital neuritis is piercing. It arises at the base of the skull on one side or the other and shoots into the back of the eye on the affected side. The diagnosis can be confirmed by pressing the thumb into the suspected area at the base of the skull, which should be very painful. Applying moist heat to this area usually provides relief; however, preventing muscle tension around the nerve sheath by lowering the adrenaline level is the cure.
I have recommended to patients with tinnitus that they apply progesterone to the back of the neck, and most of them have obtained significant relief.
Muscle tension in the neck can also give rise to tinnitus, which is a ringing in one or both ears. The two vertebral arteries, which run up the back of the neck into the brain, give rise in the neck to the smaller vestibular arteries, one going to each inner ear. It is my theory that tension in the neck muscles can constrict these small blood vessels, causing impairment of circulation to the inner ear and thus causing tinnitus. I have recommended to patients who have tinnitus that they apply progesterone to the back of the neck, and most of them have obtained significant relief. Another example of localized muscle tension is temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), a condition that may arise when people grind their teeth or clench their jaw, especially at night. TMJ can be treated with a dental prosthesis or a retainer, or more simply by lowering adrenaline. Notably, a low progesterone level can cause a headache in three ways. First, a low progesterone level is associated with increased insulin, which can cause hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can lead to a hunger headache, often between 3 and 4 p.m. Second, hypoglycemia can prompt the release of adrenaline, which can cause traction headaches. Third, women with low progesterone levels can get estrogen-induced migraine headaches when they have their periods. All of the kinds of headaches mentioned in this section respond quickly, sometimes immediately, to transdermal progesterone cream. The following story illustrates the power of this simple treatment: I was asked to consult on a case of a 15-year-old boy who had been suffering from a persistent, non-stop headache, along with associated muscle tension in his neck, for 18 months. He was exceptionally intelligent and had classic symptoms of mixed type ADHD. Putting these factors together, I was confident that his headache was caused by excess adrenaline. I placed a small amount of over-the-counter progesterone cream on his forearm and on the back of his neck. In about five minutes his headache was 90 percent gone; after 10 minutes, it was 100 percent gone.