Treat headaches the homeopathic way
Treat headaches the homeopathic way
In this article Dr Barbara Lewis divides headaches into different categories to try and simplify this vast topic, and places different homeopathic remedies under the various categories. However, it is important to explain that each individual is unique and the remedy that will alleviate that person's headache will be specific to his or her symptom picture and individuality. Therefore if a remedy is described as a migraine remedy and yours is a 'tension' headache, but all the symptoms 'fit', then please try it in a 12X to 30CH potency every 1 to 4 hours until the symptoms improve.
Treat headaches the homeopathic way By Dr Barbara Lewis BSc, DHom, DHerb,
MNIMH Dr Barbara Lewis is a registered herbalist and homeopath in practice for
the past 24 years. She has taught homeopathy at the Durban Technikon, and has
recently co-authored a self-help book on homeopathy. Dr Lewis practices at the
Refuah Healing Centre in Sea Point and in Rondebosch, Cape Town, tel. 021-433
2858. In this article I have divided headaches into different categories to try and
simplify this vast topic, and have placed different homeopathic remedies under the
various categories. However, it is important to explain that each individual is
unique and the remedy that will alleviate that person's headache will be specific to
his or her symptom picture and individuality. Therefore if a remedy is described as
a migraine remedy and yours is a 'tension' headache, but all the symptoms 'fit',
then please try it in a 12X to 30CH potency every 1 to 4 hours until the symptoms
improve. Tension headaches Tension headaches usually start in the shoulders or
back of the head and move forward covering the whole head with a steady dull
pain. The muscles in the neck, shoulders and jaw are usually tight and as hard as a
board. The tension-type headache can be caused by sitting too long in an
uncomfortable position, stress, not having a meal or being dehydrated, food
allergies, insufficient sleep, premenstrual tension, clenching your jaw or grinding
your teeth, sadness or anxiety. There are different remedies for different types of
tension headaches and different individuals. Gelsemium headaches start with
muscular soreness in the nape of the neck and may extend over the head or feel
like a tight band around the head or in the temples. The head feels dull, dizzy,
drowsy and heavy, and the scalp feels sore to the touch.
The headache feels a bit better if one lies with the head raised high on pillows. Often as the headache improves, there will be profuse urination. Silica headaches, like those of Gelsemium, run from the nape of the neck over the head and locate over one eye. The headache can be caused by not eating at the proper time, exertion, studying and noise, or from feeling anxious about an upcoming test. There may be profuse head sweats. Silica individuals are often perfectionists who pay much attention to minute detail and may lose their self-confidence before an ordeal. Silica headaches can be of the tension or migraine type. Belladonna has a throbbing, hammering headache usually in the forehead or temples. The sudden pain is intense and is made worse by too much sun, light or noise in the afternoon and lying down, so patients want to sit semi-erect. Having their hair cut or cold drafts to the head may trigger it. The face may be alternately pale and flushed and the pupils dilated and the carotids throbbing. Bryonia is recommended for congestive headaches that feel worse for the slightest movement, even of the eyes. It is a bursting, splitting headache as if one was being hit with a hammer from within. Even hair feels sore! The headache often starts over the left eye and then settles in the occiput (the back of the head). Besides Bryonia sufferers being so much worse for any movement, they are irritable, want to stay at home and are very thirsty. Aconite must be thought of as a remedy for headaches that appear suddenly, with anxiety following a shock or with fever. The pain is heavy, hot and bursting. Migraine headaches Migraine headaches are frequently one-sided headaches that are pounding or throbbing.
They tend to start quite suddenly and are often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. There may be visual disturbances such as blurry vision or flickering jags of light or darkness in front of one's eyes, and parts of the body may feel weak, numb or tingly. Usually noise, light and movement make the pain worse and the sufferer wants to lie down in a quiet dark room. Triggers are myriad, but can include certain smells or foods, tobacco smoke, stress, some medications, hormones, depression, artificial colours and preservatives, too much sun, etc. Migraine headaches frequently respond very well to constitutional homeopathy. Nat mur migraine headaches are blinding, hammering and throbbing! There may be partial numbness or disturbed vision. There is frequently a history of grief, sadness or disappointed love. Sufferers are introverted and may dwell on past disagreeable events and they tend to bottle up their feelings. The headaches are worse on waking, from sunrise to sunset, or at 10h00. Headaches in schoolchildren who crave salt often respond to this remedy. Iris versicolor is an outstanding remedy for gastric or liver headaches that start with blurring visual disturbances after relaxing from a mental strain, often from studying. These sick headaches have a contracted feeling of the scalp and are worse at the temples. Of course the person can't concentrate and feels down and irritable. Sanguinaria also has great nausea and often vomiting, until one vomits up bile, with its migraine headaches. The pain is usually over the right eye. Sanguinaria headaches often become more frequent during menopause or every seventh day (like Sulphur).
The veins and temples become distended and there can be pain in the back of the head 'like a flash of lightning'. Chelidonium is a liver and gall-bladder remedy with a headache linked to pain in the right shoulder or shoulder blade. The head feels too small and there is marked lethargy and drowsiness. Lac defloratum has a very intense throbbing headache including nausea, vomiting and obstinate constipation, and visual disturbances and profuse urination during the headache. The pain ceases at sunset. They are allergic to milk. Sinus headaches Sinus headaches cause a dull, deep or severe pain in the front of the head and face. They are caused by an infection in the sinus passages. The pain is often worse in the morning due to mucus congestion, and bending over and cold damp weather aggravates the pain. There is usually a sticky yellow or green discharge from the nose, sometimes a fever and a feeling of being ill. Arsen alb can be used for sinus headaches with a thin, watery irritating discharge that is not better when one sneezes. It also has a characteristic midnight to 02h00 pain, usually over the left eye with an icy feeling of the scalp and great weakness. The head is restlessly in motion and the headaches are relieved by cold, although cold aggravates all the other symptoms. One would expect anxiety, exhaustion and restlessness to be present. Eating ice cream or ice-cold drinks may trigger the headache. Kali bich is a sinusitis remedy where the mucus is thick, yellow-green and sticky, or where there has been suppressed catarrh from taking too many antihistamines. Kali bich can also be used for migraines where the pain is in small spots, often over the eyebrows, preceded by blurred vision or blindness. The bones of the head feel sore. The pain feels better for pressing at the root of the nose. Pulsatilla is being discussed under sinus headaches, but it is a remedy that defies categorisation. If the symptom picture matches that of changeable Pulsatilla, then this remedy will work amazingly.
The headache is often triggered by overwork or by being in a warm stuffy room, or the cinema during the daytime, or from rich fatty foods such as pork, pastries, desserts or ice cream. There is thirstlessness with all their complaints. The headaches are often one-sided, but the pain can wander about the head and extend to the face and teeth. The eye on the affected side often waters. Walking about slowly in fresh cool open air and lots of sympathy ameliorates the headache. The sinus catarrh of Pulsatilla is thick, white and bland. Hormonal headaches are best treated by professional homeopaths. Common sense nutritional advice includes: • Avoid food allergens such as red wine, cheese, chocolate, citrus, cow's milk, wheat, eggs, tea, beef, pork, corn, tomato, rye, shellfish, artificial colourings, preservatives and nitrates in preserved meats • Avoid caffeine as it is a vasodilator • Take essential fatty acids, i.e. omega-3 and 6 as in flaxseed oil • Magnesium supplementation can increase muscle relaxation • Vitamins B2 (riboflavin), C, E, folic acid, choline and bioflavanoids and 5-hydroxytryptophan have been shown to reduce the incidence or severity of headaches (check with your health provider) • Lots and lots of garlic relieves sticky nasal congestion during a sinus attack, disinfecting the mucus and making it more watery • Sniff up salt water and bicarbonate solution (tasting like tears) to clear and shrink the mucus membranes daily if one is a chronic sufferer • Inhale 2 drops of eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary or thyme essential oils in steam every 2 hours • Deep breathing, yoga, regular exercise and massage often control shoulder tension • Warm pads or ice packs on the head or shoulders can help some people. Experiment with which helps you more • Herbs such as eyebright (Euphrasia), liquorice, echinacea and elder flower (Sambucus) help sinus headaches. Take 1 teaspoon of each in boiling water and drink every 2 hours • Tension and migraine headaches can be helped by peppermint (Mentha piperata), meadowsweet (Filipendula), St John's wort (Hypericum), feverfew (Tanecetum) and valerian tea can be made as described above, or tinctures bought.
Headaches are indeed debilitating to sufferers, but merely taking a pain pill for recurrent headaches may be a way of ignoring important information that the body is trying to give you. It makes sense to seek help and remove the source of the pain and strengthen the whole person at the same time. Further reading 1. Bloch R, Lewis B. Homoeopathy for the Home. Cape Town: Struik, 2003. 2. Castro. Complete Homoeopathic Handbook. London: Pan MacMillan, 1996. 3. Lockie A. The Family Guide to Homeopathy - The Safe From of Medicine for the Future. London: Elm Tree Books, 1989.