Migraines: What causes them: Post-pandemic stress disorder could be to blame


The coronavirus pandemic has been a life-changing experience for all of us, and undoubtedly has resulted in a fresh wave of mental and physical health problems which are affecting many of us on a daily basis, said Kemmy Gichaba, Osteopath and creator of Holistic Impact, a new CBD and essentials oils range (www.holisticimpact.co.uk). She said: “The trauma and long-lasting effects of the pandemic has been referred to by many experts as ‘Post Pandemic Stress Disorder’ and it is characterised by a wide range of mental and physical symptoms,” which includes migraines.

Kemmy explained: “Stress can cause migraines, chronic pain and regular migraines create more stress – and so the cycle continues, with frequent migraines deemed one of the health issues on the rise post-pandemic.

“A recent study conducted on over 200 people living with migraines found that over 85 percent reported poor sleep quality, which is associated with headache frequency, stress, anxiety, and depression which can also act as a trigger for migraines.

“To naturally relieve some of the tension and blockages in your body which could be the root cause of migraines try a good-quality magnesium oil which can be sprayed along the shoulders and neck to loosen up those muscles and improve circulation and blood flow.”

Other symptoms range from teeth grinding to low energy.

READ MORE: The side effect seen ‘more frequently’ after Pfizer booster shot than previous doses – FDA

Brain fog

Post-pandemic brain fog is an umbrella term which covers a lot of cognitive issues which are being experienced as a result of COVID-19.

Kemmy said: “Characterised by absent mindedness, forgetfulness, and a general inability to focus, brain fog could be caused by a wide range of factors, including isolation, anxiety, lack of sleep, and a decreased level of exercise. All of those feelings can fatigue the brain, especially the frontal lobe, which contributes to memory, recall and attention.

“If you’re suffering with brain fog, you might be lacking certain nutrients. Vitamin B12 is important for healthy brain function and having a deficiency in this vitamin can lead to brain fog.

“Also, if you have food allergies or you are sensitive to certain foods, brain fog may occur after eating these foods. Some common foods that may lead to brain fog include MSG, peanuts, alcohol, artificial sweeteners like aspartame, refined carbohydrates, caffeine, and dairy.”


Teeth grinding and jaw clenching

Stress from the COVID-19 pandemic can manifest in various ways, including orofacial and jaw pain, which are products of jaw-clenching during the day and teeth-grinding at night, said Kemmy.

She continued: “This physical manifestation of stress or emotional distress can be relieved by releasing your jaw using breathing techniques. To do this, find your tragus (the thick piece of flesh which covers the ear) and moving your thumb forward to release the muscle that you use to clench and grind, as well as stretching the side, the back and the front of your neck as those are the muscles which tighten when you clench your jaw and grind your teeth.”


Disrupted routines and ongoing uncertainty has undoubtedly created a surge in insomnia.

Kemmy said: “Insomnia, whether in a pandemic or not, is difficult to live with. Consistently having trouble falling asleep, or experiencing poor quality sleep, can lead to long-term health problems including obesity, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. It can also contribute to cognitive issues like brain fog and be one of the causes of low energy.

“There’s a huge body of research which suggests that CBD can help with sleep due to its relaxing, anxiety-reducing effects.

“The most potent products to help with sleep and insomnia are the fast-absorbing CBD oils, like Holistic Impact’s CBD oil (£70 from www.holisticimpact.co.uk), known commonly as tinctures. These drops have a powerful calming effect, but typically without any issues like grogginess. The most beneficial way to take oil is through sublingual administration. This means placing the CBD drops under the tongue for 30 seconds to one minute before swallowing. Via this route CBD molecules pass through the thin layer of tissue under the tongue and immediately diffuse into the bloodstream, delivering a rapid and effective hit of cannabidiol which can dramatically help with sleep disorders.”

Low energy

Pandemic fatigue and low energy are issues which have plagued many of us over the course of the pandemic. Increased time spent indoors and isolated has impacted our mood and energy levels and in extreme cases has affected our sense of purpose.

Kemmy advised: “To naturally boost your energy levels, physical activity is incredibly important. Taking time out to partake in low impact physical activities like walking, yoga or swimming can dramatically help your energy levels and contribute to a more positive ‘can do’ attitude.”


With the unprecedented times humanity is currently living through, it is little wonder anxiety is on the rise. In fact, anxiety is now the most common mental illness in adults globally.

Kemmy explained: “Many symptoms can be physical, including sweating, heart racing, feeling sick and dizzy or irritable and not being able to sleep. Emotional anxiety symptoms could be catastrophic thinking, feelings of impending doom, reduced concentration, avoidance, and irritability.

“It’s important that we pay good attention to the warning signs and that we take steps to stop anxiety turning into a more serious health issue.

“In addition to seeing your GP, seeing an osteopath could help with anxiety-related conditions, as an osteopath will pay particular attention to the muscles around the thoracic spine, where the sympathetic nervous system is located. This is the system that is responsible for the fight or flight response to stressful situations. Breathwork and mindfulness can also help to reduce anxiety and teach you coping mechanisms which can help you to feel more positive and able.”



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