Today is Chronic Migraine Awareness Day. Migraines can be debilitating. Just ask my mom (if you could). She would suffer from cluster migraines periodically (which is the definition of cluster migraines). During the time period that she got them, they were frequent, sometimes twice a day for weeks. Then poof! They would be gone. But during her time period of getting them, she was out of commission for large portions of the day.
Typically, her headaches came during stressful times of the year. They seemed to come less frequently as her life stress lessened. But stress brings on most people’s headaches. This could be acute stress, such as a loss, bad news, change in weather, a bonk on the head, etc. Chronic stress will bring on chronic symptoms of headaches.
For some headaches an acute remedy will do. An acute remedy is one you would use that matches your headache symptoms, but not typically one you would need on an ongoing basis. Chronic headaches are more difficult and require a consultation with a homeopath.
Headaches Aren’t Normal
When you get an occasional headache, you think (and may be told), “This is normal. Everyone gets an occasional headache.” Actually, they don’t. Headaches should not occur even occasionally, unless you have an acute illness, such as influenza.
While conventional medicine will tell you to take a dose of ibuprofen or acetaminophen, there is no “diagnosis equals prescription” remedy for headaches in homeopathy. Also, the OTC pain relievers are hard on your kidneys (ibuprofen) and liver (acetaminophen). Homeopathy is safe and effective.
If you do get an occasional headache from the causes mentioned below, give these remedies a try. If you get occasional headaches from seemingly no cause at all, schedule a complementary consult and see if homeopathy can help you.
Remedies For Acute Headaches
Chronic headaches are headaches you get regularly. Acute headaches are ones that come only occasionally. However, you sometimes need an acute remedy for a chronic headache flare. It might help you manage the symptoms, but it may not make them go away in the future.
This is probably the most important remedy for headaches in the Homeopathic Materia Medica, but yet, still only covers perhaps 15% of migraine or acute headaches. Look for these symptoms:
- Quality of pain: Bursting pain. Squeezing by a vise. Perhaps sensation of a small hammer in one spot.
- Location: Typically on the right side, but could be on the back (occipital lobe) or on the temple.
- Worse: In the morning on waking, or at 10 a.m. or from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. There is nothing worse than waking up with a headache!
- Better: Cold compresses or an ice pack. Lying down in a dark room.
- Cause: Grief, emotions or suppressed emotions. Over heating, which will likely also include stars or sparks in the field of vision. The onset of menses.
- Other symptoms: Vomiting from a headache. Comes on from reading or eye strain.
This is an excellent remedy for acute or chronic headaches.
- Quality of pain: It is a VERY intense headache. Pressure from the inside pressing outward. Often described as “throbbing” or “exploding”.
- Location: Begins in the right occipital lobe and extends to the right forehead or eye.
- With Belladonna, pains come and go suddenly, or they could come on slowly and then end suddenly.
- Worse: Like other Belladonna symptoms, 3 p.m. is the witching hour. Any kind of jarring, going up and down stairs, light, heat, sun, noise, menses, straining to have a bowel movement.
- Better: Lying down in a dark quiet room. Cold Compresses or ice. Binding the head or some other kind of external pressure also helps.
- Other symptoms: Vomiting with the headache. Cold hands and feet with the headache (true for Belladonna fevers as well.) Face could be red, but not absolutely necessary.
- Cause: Hormones, hypertension, heat, menses.
Another right sided headache, this one can be confused with Belladonna as they have some overlapping symptoms. It is a congestive headache, which means the blood goes to the head and doesn’t quickly return to the rest of the body. See this blog post for a further explanation.
- Quality of the pain: Throbbing or burning pain.
- Location: It starts in the right shoulder or neck and radiates to the right forehead or eye.
- Worse: This headache appears and disappears with the sun. Light many headaches, it is worse from light, noise, jarring, and interestingly, odors.
- Better: Sleeping or after vomiting.
- Other symptoms: Face is red and flushed and may feel some pulsation in the carotid arteries. It is often accompanied by a burning stomach ache or a sour stomach.
Left Sided Headaches
This is the remedy my mother needed when she had the worst of her cluster migraines. Unfortunately, I didn’t know anything about homeopathy at that time. Good thing for you, now you do, so your loved one won’t have to suffer.
- Quality: Sharp pain or neuralgic pain.
- Location: Left forehead or above the left eye or in the left eye. Although Spigelia is well known as a left sided headache, the exact same symptoms on the right side will also suggest Spigelia. It could begin in the left temple or occiput and radiate to the left eye or forehead.
- Worse: In the morning, comes and goes with the sun. Worse from light (my mom hung out in the dark bathroom during her headaches). Motion (yes, there are some headaches that are better from motion). Alcohol. Drafts of air or fresh air.
- Better: Could be better with cold or warm applications. Lying down. Binding the head.
- Other symptoms: Could be associated with heart palpitations. The plant family to which Spigelia belongs has a lot of emotions associated with it, so there will likely be big emotions displayed with this headache.
Bryonia is a classic homeopathic remedy that is well known for being worse from motion. You will see that thread continues in these headache symptoms.
- Location: Pain starts over the left eye and extends to the left occiput and then the whole head. It may even go to the shoulders and the back. Yikes!
- Quality of the pain: It is dull and heavy. It could be sharp. It increases slowly. Most Bryonia symptoms, such as influenza, come on slowly.
- Worse: This is a headache that comes on when you get out of bed. May only last until noon, or could even last or come on at 9 p.m. Like all things Bryonia, it is worse with motion, such as moving the head, opening or closing the eyes, jarring, coughing, going up steps, etc.
- Better. Most things with Bryonia are better from pressure because it stops the motion when you apply pressure. Lying on the painful side makes it better too, which also stops motion. Lying in the dark also helps.
- Other symptoms: Nausea or vomiting could develop upon sitting up. When you sit up, you are allowing motion.
Sepia is the quintessential “sick headache”.
- Quality of the pain: The pain comes in waves or it could be jolting or shocking.
- Location: Left forehead or just above the left eye.
- Worse: Before or during menses. During pregnancy or menopause. But it could be another time if the symptoms match. Light, mental exertion, fasting, hypoglycemia, could also be a remedy for motion sickness.
- Better: Ironically, vigorous exercise, pressure, open air, vomiting, eating, sleeping, Lying in the dark (that symptom is common).
- Other Symptoms: Stomach feels empty when you have a headache. Empty stomachs cause a lot of problems with Sepia cases, so this is not an unusual symptom.
This remedy is made out of nitroglycerine, so the explosive, bursting nature is in keeping with the signature of the substance.
- Quality of Pain: Intense pounding, as if your head might burst if it continues. Carotid arteries are pulsing strongly.
- Location: Starts at the base of the skull and rises upwards.
- Worse: Sun, heat, alcohol, jarring, motion, menses, tight collars.
- Better: pressure, as it pushes back on the bursting, explosive feeling. Lying in a dark room, cold applications, bending the head backwards, moving to the shade, wearing a hat (pressure)
- Other symptoms: Face is flushed. This is a congestive headache.
Dosing the Remedies
If you have access to it, getting the remedy you need in a 200c is best for these headaches. Take the remedy every couple hours or as needed. If you only have a 30c, take more frequently. But if it doesn’t help and it is well chosen, try to get ahold of 200c before your next headache.
If you have chronic headaches, these remedies will probably only help during what we refer to as “flare ups”. To actually end the headaches, you might need a constitutional remedy. Schedule a complementary consult to see if homeopathy can work for you.
Read this blog for a success story on migraines.