Right everyone. Hands up who has NEVER had a headache! Anyone? Over there at the back? You? No, didn't think there would be any. If you try to search the web for percentages of people who don't get headaches, it's a pretty hard number to find. But I found a few sources who say it's only about 5-10% of the worlds' population who have never experienced a headache.
I think the vast majority of us can relate, and a lot of us have a story about a real cracker we once had. Me included. I once roamed the streets of my town at 1 am in search of pain killers (before my Homeopathy training) and was lucky enough to meet a drunk gentleman on his way home from the pub, who went home and came back with 2 paracetamol for me. It's not a strategy I could recommend to anyone, but it highlights the awful situation I found myself in when the pain was just too much to bare.
So what is a headache?
There are basically two types of headaches.
Primary headaches - these are stand alone illnesses that are caused by (as denoted by mainstream medicine) over-activity of, or problems with, the structures in the head that are pain sensitive. Examples include migraines, cluster headaches and tension headaches.
Secondary headaches - these are caused when an outside condition stimulates the pain sensitive nerves in the head. That could be a hangover, tumors, clots, bleeding, brain freeze, concussion, dehydration, colds and flu, panic attacks, and so on.
A lot of us can relate to the dreaded hangover headache. And if you like ice cream as much as I do, brain freeze can be a real issue.
But what if it's none of those?
However, I see time and time again in my practice that many of my patients get headaches for no reason that can be determined by their doctor or themselves. They're hydration is just fine. They aren't suffering current stresses. Their eyes are just fine. But they get that all too familiar feeling of a headache coming on and there is nothing they can do other than reach for the pain killers to get them through the day.
Now let me be pragmatic. And I know some homeopaths have a big problem with this. If you're in the middle of an important meeting; or the kids are playing up; you're stuck in traffic; and you just need to get through the day without the pain, then reach for a pain killer. I do it! There I said it. I use painkillers. But let me be clear and direct. That is not a long term solution.
But why not? Everyone's taking painkillers all the time.
Now, I'm sure (I hope) you're not reaching for an opiate based little helper for your headache
every time, but even the milder ones, when used continuously, can have a detrimental effect on health.
Ibuprofen is particularly bad for your stomach lining. It can cause bleeding, ulcers or even holes in the stomach or intestines. And long term paracetamol use has been linked with increases in the risk of heart attacks, gastrointestinal bleeding and impaired kidney function.
But enough of the merriment. Lets talk shop.
A headache is a headache, isn't it?
The short and rather direct answer to this is a resounding NO. I don't think I've ever met 2 people who experience headaches in the same way. Some of the varying ways they can be experienced are:
Right or left sided
Throbbing, pounding, pulsating, stitching, stabbing pain
Red or hot skin
Cold feet and hands (yes, goes with headaches too)
Pain behind the eyes
Feeling of a tight band around the skull and forehead or the head feeling as if it's being clamped
Pain as if being hit with an ice pick
Headaches triggered by weather changes
Menstrual related headaches.Stiff neck and shoulder
The list could go on and on, but those are a few of the most common.
But why, why, why?
Anyone already familiar with homeopathy will know that we always try to get to the 'why' of a problem. Never been well since.....
It's pretty safe to say that unless you have a physical abnormality, most of us do not experience headaches as babies and small children. And thankfully, the majority of us only experience headaches occasionally. But for some there is a regularity, whether it be cyclical or otherwise, which can be addressed with the correct homeopathic approach.
So what remedies can I use for treating my headache?
Most headache sufferers tell me that their symptoms are generally the same with each
occurrence so if you're looking for an acute remedy to treat your headache, here are some remedies you can try:
Had a bang on the head? Reach for Arnica
Right sided, throbbing pain, red and hot skin with cold hands and feet - Belladonna is your gal
Pulsating, throbbing pain, near to or into the left eye. Occurs early in the morning, dry mouth and sensitivity to noise and movement - Bryonia
Dehydration, weakness or anemia - go for China (not in case of a hangover though)
Dizziness, nausea and vomiting, with worrisome behavior - reach for Cocculus indicus
Dizziness, blurred or dimmed vision or eye spasm. Earache, dry mouth or thirst and weakness. Sensitivity to cold or open air. Emotional upsets - Cyclamen
Blurred vision with the sensation of a tight band or vise clamped around your skull. Having to pee frequently and difficulty holding your head straight or opening your eyes - Gelsemium
Ice Pick headaches and stress headaches. With back muscle spasms and feelings of grief, disappointment or sadness - Ignatia
Left-sided migraine with congestion, hot flashes, flushed or blotchy skin and heat intolerance - Lachesis (excellent menopause remedy for the same symptoms BTW)
Pounding pain with stress related to eyestrain, too much sun, grief and sadness - Natrium muriaticum
Hangover, tension, toxic pain from too much of anything - Nux vomica
Triggered by changes in the the weather, especially before a storm - Ranunculus bulbosis
Centralized into the right eye with eyestrain, vomiting and sharp or splitting head pain - Sanguinaria canadensis
Left forehead or above the left eye with nausea and vomiting - Sepia
Left-sided with heart palpitations or other heart issues, and stiff neck and shoulder - Spigelia
So why would I need to see a homeopath with all these remedies available?
Well, these are great remedies and will usually help the patient in an acute situation, to get rid of the headache they're experiencing there and then. But the question still remains as to why you're experiencing headaches in the first place.
The role of the homeopath is to niggle down with the right questioning and experience, and find out the core reason as to what triggered a headache response in the first place. Then a carefully selected remedy which matches not only the headache, but also the patient, can allow the body to do its job and restore balance and well-being to the patient.
Do you suffer from headaches? Could your health do with a bit of an overhaul or are you just curious? Contact me for a FREE 15 minute introductory consultation to discuss how I can help you.