Headaches are one of the most common health problems that affect people today. In fact, some surveys suggest an incredible 70% of Americans get headaches that account for 50 million doctors’ visits each year. A simple headache can often be overlooked or masked with a painkiller. Studies indicate that the alternative medicine practice known as homeopathy could be effective for relieving headaches naturally. As such, we will discuss some popular homeopathic remedies for headaches.
The medical term for a headache is cephalgia, and it is pain felt anywhere around the head or neck. The pain is caused by disturbances of pain-sensitive structures of the brain located around the neck and head. There are two categories of pain-sensitive structures:
- Outside the cranium: the periosteum of the skull, arteries and veins, muscles, nerves, eyes, ears, subcutaneous tissues, mucous membranes, and sinuses
- Inside the cranium: meninges, blood vessels, and the cranial nerves
Types of Headaches
Not every headache is the same. Some will last for a split second, while others will go on for hours. There are three types of headaches: cluster headaches, tension headaches, and migraines.
1. Cluster Headaches
The cluster headache is a non-throbbing headache, but will cause a severe and burning pain behind the eye or on one side of the head. Other symptoms will include teary eyes, a runny nose, and nasal congestion. These headaches can go for an extended period of time, and can last up to six weeks. They may occur every day and even more than once daily. Cluster headaches are often rare, and usually affect men between the ages of 20 to 40. Although the cause of a cluster headache is often unknown, alcohol intake is sometimes a trigger.
2. Tension Headaches
Tension headaches are the common headache type, and frequently affect women over the age of 20. They are often described as feeling a tight band around the head. Tightening muscles of the neck, face, and scalp as a result from poor posture or stress are to blame. The tension headache is often recurrent and often lasts for several minutes and sometimes up to days. Causes include magnesium insufficiency and reactions to certain drugs.
A migraine headache is the most severe type, and it is triggered by changes in the activity of brain chemicals and nerve pathways. Causes of migraine headaches include blood vessel instability, platelet disorder, nerve disorder, and serotonin deficiency syndrome. The migraine headache is a very intense, throbbing headache that often affects one side of the head. Migraines may also increase sensitivity to noise and light, and could last anywhere from several hours to a number of days.
How Homeopathy Treats Headaches
Getting some rest can often relieve a headache; however, many people mask their headache symptoms with painkillers. Homeopathy is considered by many to be an excellent treatment for acute and chronic headaches, and even has a track record for permanent relief.
In an observational study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2010, patients taking homeopathy for migraine headaches showed improvements that lasted for two years. Another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2013 demonstrated homeopathy as a prevention and treatment method for migraines in children. Homeopathy reduced the frequency, severity, and duration of the migraine attacks. Lycopodium, pulsatilla, gelsemium, and belladonna were among the homeopathic remedies used in the study.
Sufferers will often use different homeopathic remedies for headaches that are acute, as opposed to a single remedy for the duration of chronic headaches. A remedy that persistently relieves a headache can sometimes induce permanent remission. Taking the right remedy at first signs of a headache may prevent it from further developing, and if there is already pain, the remedy can be taken hourly or as often as needed in the recommended potency (degree of dilution) such as 6C, 12C, and 30C.
10 Homeopathic Remedies for Headaches
Constitutional or holistic remedies may help cure the underlying tendency toward a headache when taken infrequently. To find the correct remedy for you, consult with a trained homeopath. The following are some of the more common recommended homeopathic remedies for headaches:
1. Belladonna (Nightshade)
Belladonna is used for right-sided headaches with violent throbbing pains that begin on the back of the head and extend to the right eye or forehead. The throbbing pain feels like the head is going to burst. The skin feels hot, the face is flushed, and feet are cold. The person also feels like lying down in a quiet, dark room. They are also very sensitive to noise, touch, light, and strong or unusual smells.
2. Bryonia (White Bryony)
Bryonia is used for pain in the forehead or left eye that extends throughout the entire head. Symptoms worsen from any sort of movement, and feel better from stillness and pressure. Accompanying symptoms will include constipation, nausea, vomiting, great thirst, irritability, and the need to be alone.
3. Gelsemium (Yellow Jasmine)
Gelsemium is considered for a dull, heavy pain that is localized or at the right side of the head or back of the neck that may spread like a tight band around the head. The person also feels dizzy, tired, and may have blurry vision. Urination will improve headaches. The person is not very irritable, but also likes to be left alone.
4. Iris Versicolor (Blue Flag)
Iris versicolor is used for right-sided migraines that feel like the person’s head is constricted. The migraines recur periodically, and may happen on certain days of stress. Other symptoms include blurry vision, vomiting, and nausea. Movement and open air will improve symptoms; however, symptoms appear worse from lying down, at night, and on Sundays.
5. Ignatia (St. Ignatius Bean)
Ignatia is often used for headaches associated with back or neck spasms. It will also feel like a nail has been driven into the head. Ignatia is often given for headaches triggered from trauma or emotional grief.
6. Sanguinaria (Bloodroot)
Sanguinaria is the remedy of choice for headaches that begin at the right side of the shoulder or neck, before radiating to the right eye. The headache may be triggered from the sun, not eating, menopause, nasal blockage, or heartburn. Headaches will recur weekly, along with flushing, heat, burning, and red cheeks. The person experiences relief from vomiting; however, symptoms worsen from noise, sun, or during the day.
7. Nux Vomica (Quaker’s Buttons)
Nux vomica is used for headaches caused by stress, bad reactions to food, and overwork. Alcohol or food allergies may trigger symptoms. Other symptoms include nausea, stomachaches, constipation, lightheadedness, and irritability that worsen from light, noise, and opening the eyes. The headache is often relieved with cold applications.
8. Spigella (Wormgrass)
Spigella is often prescribed for a sharp, burning, stitching headache at the left eye. A headache with a stiff neck and shoulders make movement very painful. Symptoms will also worsen from noise, cold weather, or any jarring, and they improve from lying with the head propped up, heat, or hot bathing.
9. Pulsatilla (Wild Flower)
Pulsatilla is a helpful remedy for headaches that occur around the menstrual cycle. The location of the headache will also change rapidly, and symptoms worsen from stuffy rooms or heat. Things will usually improve from open air.
10. Lycopodium (Club Moss)
Right-sided headaches in the temple or forehead area will call for lycopodium. Symptoms often worsen from being over-heated, going too long without eating, or between 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
While these and other homeopathic remedies for headaches have shown success, it always best to consult with your primary physician or pharmacist before taking any natural or herbal remedy.
Headaches Are a Real Pain
Headaches can be a pain, especially when they appear seemingly out of nowhere. In addition to the above homeopathic remedies for headaches, there are general lifestyle recommendations that can prevent and treat acute and chronic headaches, including:
1. Breathing deeply
Some headaches worsen from an inadequate supply of oxygen.
2. Stay hydrated
The dehydrating effects of sugary drinks, coffee, and alcohol can leave us with a severe headache. Drink plenty of water, and eat lots of vegetables and fruit.
3. Lying in a dark room
Lying in a dark room will reduce muscular spasms, especially when you also apply a cold compress to the painful area.
4. Detox bath
A bath can help eliminate toxins from the skin, and prevent headaches. Also, adding essential oils to the bath water is a soothing way to release any built-up tension that the body is holding on to.
5. Yoga and movement
Stretching, yoga, and movement are a great way to relieve built-up tension brought on from sitting or staying in the same position all day.
6. Other therapies
Biofeedback and acupuncture are also therapies that help with relaxation and pain management.
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