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:: Headaches & Homeopathy ::

First and foremost, especially for those of you new to homeopathy, remember that homeopathy and herbs are two totally different healing arts. Homeopathy uses tiny white pills that dissolve under the tongue and must be taken at least 15 minutes from food or drink. But herbal remedies have basically no rules and are usually taken in capsule form and swallowed with or between meals.

There are quite a few great herbs for headaches. Some of the ones that I prescribe on a daily basis include PSI Daytime and PSI Nightime. These two formulas are used in place of aspirin, 3-5 capsules every 2-3 hours for all types of headaches. They have an anti-inflammatory effect as well as the ability to cut and reduce pain. Feverfew is also used a lot, and is usually taken preventatively for those with migraine headaches, but also can work well when taken at the onset of a headache.

A great Chinese herbal formula is called Oophiopagon and Asarum. This one works for pain which has a nerve component, with shooting or stabbing pain from the back of the neck to the eye, or pain that originates from tightness, soreness, or muscle spasms in the upper back or shoulder area. Another good Chinese formula is called Corydalis. This one is used for all types of headaches and is particularly beneficial when the headache is due to stress and overwork.

Remember, that there is frequently a blood sugar component to many people’s headaches. If you suffer from headaches around 10 a.m. or 3 p.m., or if you wake with a headache, it could be that you are either not eating enough protein or are eating too many refined carbohydrates or sweets. Caffeine can also cause headaches, although in some people, caffeine can alleviate a headache. If you think you might have a blood sugar type of headache, you can try taking the mineral chromium. This is not only effective for headaches, it is good for curbing the appetite and burning fat for weight loss, reducing cholesterol, and controlling blood sugar in diabetes and hypoglycemia. If you are under stress, and your adrenal glands are “burnt out”, you will naturally be subject to frequent headaches. See Adrenal Burnout.

From the Chinese medical perspective, we always need to examine the Liver and its function when someone has headaches, as excessive Liver toxicity will cause headaches. No matter what treatment you use to treat the pain, the headaches will later return. Iron-ically, the use of Western pain medications, while temporarily removing the pain, increases toxicity in the Liver, creating more long-term headaches or other symptoms of Liver toxicity.

Now, for the primary subject at hand: Homeopathic medicine is one true cure for headaches, along with acupuncture, Reiki, psychotherapy, cranial-work, and breathwork. You also might want to remember that homeopathy and acupuncture are almost the only safe treatment methods to use during pregnancy and nursing!

Here are the five most important points to remember when determining which homeopathic remedy will work for your headache. (Remember, there is no good or bad in homeopathy; we take each symptom as it is with no judgement):

1. Left Side/Right Side: Some homeopathic remedies have an affinity to one side of the body or the other. Some of the most common left-sided remedies include Lachesis, Sepia, Bryonia, Spigelia, and Pulsatilla. Some of the most common right- sided remedies include Belladonna, Sanguinaria, Natrum mur, Lycopodium, and Chelidonium.
Lachesis works particularly well if the head-ache comes on when you first wake up. A headache that emerges after vigorous exercise, like dancing or jogging, would be best treated by Sepia. Lycopodium is good for a person who has a temper and Chelidonium often works well on headaches which originate in the right scapula area of the upper back.

2. Next, we need to look at the different types of pain: Remedies that work best for bursting or pulsating pain include Belladonna, Lachesis, and Sanguinaria. Remedies for headaches that feel like a vise squeezing the head include Lycopodium and Iris. Headaches that have a stabbing or piercing type of pain respond best to Spigelia, Pulsatilla, and Nux vomica. Remedies for a burning pain include Arsenicum, Sulphur, or Phosphorus.

3. The third factor we always need to examine is the Cause of the headache: In fact, the initiating cause is frequently of more importance than which side the headache is on or what the pain feels like. For example, if the cause is hormone-related, as in puberty, pregnancy, PMS, or menopause, some of the possible homeopathics are Lachesis, Sepia, or Pulsatilla. When the cause is due to an injury, the remedies commonly considered will be Arnica, Natrum sulph, or Aconite. When due to emotional trauma or grief, common remedies are Ignatia, Natrum mur, Aconite, or Pulsatilla. When due to fright or fear, common choices might be Ignatia, Pulsatilla, Gelsemium, or Argenticum nitricum. Often, headaches can be associated with, or be the result of drug use or anesthesia. In these cases, two of the common remedies are Nux vomica and Lycopodium. For headaches associated with the ßu or a common cold, you might want to try Belladonna, Ferrum phos, Gelsemium, or Bryonia.

4. The next important aspect to consider in choosing an effective homeopathic remedy is called the Remedy Modalities: This includes the various internal and external factors that affect the severity and onset of the headache. Here is a partial list of the modalities and their corresponding homeopathic remedies. Remedies for headaches that are worse when you're lying down include Belladonna, Lycopodium, and Gelsemium. If worse during menses, remedies include Sepia, Pulsatilla and Natrum mur. Worse after sleep or a nap, Lachesis. Worse when wearing a hat, Natrum mur and Lachesis. Worse after anger, Nux vomica, Bryonia alb, Natrum mur, and Lycopodium. Better after exercise include Sepia, Pulsatilla, and iris. Better with hard massage and deep pressure include Belladonna and Sanguinaria. Better with warm compresses include Nux vomica, Sulphur, and Ignatia. Better with the start of menses is Lachesis. Better after belching or vomiting is Sanguinaria.

5. The ?nal category of symptoms to consider are called the Concomitants.
These are the symptoms that tend to either occur at the same time as the headache, but in other parts of the body, or alternate with the headache symptoms. Some of the more common concomitants, and recommended remedies, are the following: Eye pain‹Belladonna or Spigelia; Vomiting‹Sanguinaria or Pulsatilla; Visual Distortion‹Lachesis, Sepia, or Natrum mur; Increased Sexual Desire‹Sepia; Dizziness‹Calc carb or Nux vomica; Twitching‹Belladonna, Sulphur or Ignatia.

If you are a newcomer to homeopathy, you can also go to the health food store and try a homeopathic combination remedy. Combination homeopathics contain four or more homeopathic remedies in one pill. If any one of the homeopathics in the combination happens to be the right one and in the right potency, it might work. If not, then it won’t work at all, but you won’t have caused any long-term harm. However, do not take more than just a few doses of the remedy. If it’s going to work, it’ll work quickly. You can cause harm to your body if you continue to take the wrong remedy for more then a couple of days.

This article is just touching the surface of the subject of homeopathy for headaches. If you have more specific questions, please email them to me and I’ll try to answer them in my next newsletter. If you are on medications prescribed by your medical doctor, don’t try any of the suggestions in this newsletter without first checking with your doctor, and never take yourself off a prescription medication without the supervision of your medical doctor. If you are being treated by a homeopath, do not take another homeo-pathic remedy without checking with your homeopath first. See Dr Randy Martin’s book "Optimal Health: How to Get it, How to Keep It", for more on headaches.

I’d like to thank the National Center for Homeopathy and an article by Todd Hoover for inspiring this article. You can contact the National Center and subscribe to their newsletter via http://www.homeopathy.org. This is a great monthly journal, full of information to help you understand homeopathy and to use it more effectively in your life . If you are a patient of mine, it’ll help you to understand what information I need in order to make the best homeopathic prescription.

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