Homeopathic Medicine for Chronic or Acute HeadachesTara Marcinkowski, BAH, ND September 1, 2010
Headaches are a very common symptom. For some people, they can become chronic and debilitating. Head pain can be a symptom of many different conditions, so it is important to rule out serious causes such as meningitis, brain tumour, hemorrhage, and dangerously-high blood pressure. Some more common causes include food sensitivities, environmental allergies, stress, nutritional deficiencies, and muscular tension. Once serious causes have been ruled out, natural treatment options can be considered.
TYPES OF HEADACHES
There are three main types of primary headaches that are diagnosed based on clinical evaluation.
1. Cluster headache – often occurs at the same time of day and affects one side of the head and face, causing deep, severe pain. Accompanied by tearing of the eyes, drooping eyelids, and restlessness, cluster headaches last anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours.
2. Migraine headache – experienced as pulsating pain on one side of the head and lasting from four to 72 hours; migraine sufferers seek rest in a dark, quiet room. Nausea, light-sensitivity, and visual aura are common with migraines.
3. Tension-type headache – the vice-like pain felt on both sides of the head is more frequent, constant, and mild than other types of headaches. It can develop over several hours and is usually worse at the end of the day.
THE HOMEOPATHIC DIFFERENCE
In order to prescribe a homeopathic remedy, it is crucial to discover what is unique about the way an individual experiences a headache. For example, all migraine sufferers may experience nausea, but a particular individual may feel thirsty for cold drinks with the headache. Thirst for cold drinks is the characteristic symptom that sets one migraine sufferer apart from others.
There are hundreds of possible remedies for the treatment of headaches, so the key is finding which homeopathic remedy most closely matches your symptoms. The following describes some homeopathic remedies and their characteristic symptom pictures:
Natrum muriaticum – When experiencing a headache that can be resolved with Natrum muriaticum, you may feel pressure on the eyes, making it hard to open the eyelids. You might describe the headache as bursting, throbbing, pressing, or tearing. The headache worsens with motion, laughter, and noise. You may have a dry mouth and crave cold drinks.
Belladonna – If your headaches come and go suddenly, Belladonna might help you. This type of headache is violent, throbbing, and intense with burning heat. You might be coming down with a ‘flu or cold and experience a fever with glassy, dilated pupils.
Nux vomica – When a headache is triggered by overeating, coffee, hangovers, lack of sleep, or inactivity, nux vomica may be your answer. Constipation often accompanies the headache. You will feel better if warmly covered and lying down.
Sanguinaria – This headache is associated with nausea and vomiting, and sleep will seem like the only relief. The headache is often right-sided and can be accompanied by other right-sided symptoms, such as shoulder or neck pain.
Bryonia – Intense, sharp, shooting head pain characterizes a Bryonia headache. Your scalp may feel tender to the touch and cold applications help the pain. It can occur with indigestion or liver dysfunction.
MORE NATURAL SOLUTIONS
Try the following natural remedies for headaches. Use one or more strategies to create a pain-relieving solution:
Quench your thirst – Reach for a glass of water. Your headache may be a symptom of dehydration.
Essential oils – Try 1-2 drops of lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus essential oils in 1 teaspoon of almond oil. Massage into temples.
Just breathe – This is the easiest technique to implement anywhere, anytime. Take some deep breaths to increase your oxygen levels, increase circulation, and decrease pain. Deep breathing for at least 10 minutes provides relief.
Heat it up – Use a grain bag or hot water bottle over tense neck and shoulder muscles for 15 – 20 minutes. Gently stretch the area. Be mindful of your tendency to hold stress in your shoulders.
Clean up your environment – Headaches can be triggered by strong chemicals or toxins off-gassing in the home. Reduce household toxins by avoiding perfume/cologne, dryer sheets, new carpeting, commercial detergents, and scented paraffin candles or chemical air ‘fresheners’. Consider an air purifier for home and work.
Food foes – Caffeine, alcohol (sulphites in wine), and chocolate are common culprits in causing headaches. Keep a food diary and look for connections to foods that trigger headaches. Eliminate the foods you suspect are causing problems, and re-introduce them to see if they could be the source of your health concerns.
Grab a snack – Pumpkin seeds and almonds are high in magnesium, which helps to relax muscles and blood vessels which, when tense, can contribute to headaches. Have a small handful to get your dose of magnesium, or take a magnesium supplement.
Headaches can interfere with your day and affect your ability to function. Fortunately, there are many natural health solutions that can easily be implemented to treat the pain. Homeopathy is a great treatment option, as there are many potential remedies that can resolve headaches. Although classified clinically into three categories, the key is to narrow down the unique symptoms a person experiences along with head pain. If the pain you are experiencing is the worst headache you have ever had, continues for more than 24 hours, or the pain escalates without relief, see your health care professional to first rule out serious causes of headaches.