Headaches - Hoofdpijn - 头痛
Basic headaches description:
There are over 150 different types of headaches, but the most common types include: tension headaches, migraine headaches, cluster headaches, chronic daily headaches, sinus headaches, post-traumatic headaches, hormone headaches, etc.
The pain felt during a headache comes from a mix of signals between the brain, blood vessels, and nearby nerves. Specific nerves in the blood vessels and head muscles switch on and send pain signals to the brain.
Common causes of headaches include illness, stress, overthinking, toxic environment, bad posture, muscle tension, food sensitivity, excessive alcohol consumption, eyesight disorders, genetics, irregular food intakes, dehydration, excessive use of painkillers, unhealthy lifestyle habits, menopause, and menstruation.
When you have a headache, drink plenty of warm water, rest and stay in a calm environment, try to relax or take a nap, eventually use painkillers (best to ask advice from your family doctor), put a cold wet towel on the painful area. When a headache arises, do not drink alcohol, avoid skipping meals, do not look at your computer, cell phone, or television, avoid any kind of stress factor.
See your family doctor if headaches doesn't calm down or keeps on coming back, if painkillers are inefficient, feeling sick and/or vomiting. Call the emergency if you have hit your head, the headache came on suddenly and is extremely painful, steadily increasing headaches, with the headache you have also sudden problems with speaking or remembering things, loss of vision, confusion, high temperature, or red eyes.
Headaches and Chinese medicine:
In the vision of Chinese Medicine, headaches can be caused by external pathogens (attack of Cold, Dampness, Wind or Heat), emotional factors, diet & medications, overwork, constitutional, trauma, trigger points and mechanical stress.
Each type of headache will have a different nature and onset, with one or several accompanying features. The location can be frontal (Yang Ming), temporal (Shao Yang), occipital (Tai Yang), vertex (Jue Yin) or the whole head (several levels). Each location will then be related to different Chinese Medicine syndromes.
How can Chinese Medicine help?
The Chinese Medicine treatment principle will depend on the root cause of what is creating the headaches, and the therapy is adapted to the levels and syndromes that are concerned. Some examples of such syndromes would be: Wind-Cold attack on Tai Yang, ascendant Liver Yang, Dampness obstructing the head and senses, Blood Stasis, Stomach and Gallbladder Disharmony, etc. There are over 20 different kinds of syndromes linked to headaches and migraines in the classical Chinese Medicine reference books.
Each syndrome will have his own treatment principle, with the adapted herbal formula, acupuncture points and additional therapy if needed. In addition, these principles will be adjusted to the person's constitution and slightly modified to fit the best possible to the person's complaints.
The key acupuncture points for the treatment of headaches would be: Lie Que, He Gu, Tian Zhu, Feng Chi, Xuan Zhong, Zu Lin Qi, Tai Chong, Bai Hui, Yin Tang, Tai Yang (列缺, 合谷, 天柱, 風池, 懸鐘, 足臨泣, 太沖, 百會, 印堂, 太陽).
Herbal formula such as Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San (川芎茶調散), Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang (血府逐瘀湯), Xiao Yao San (逍遥散), Qi Ju Di Huang Wan (杞菊地黄丸) can be a great help to release the pain and regulate the condition.
Additional therapy such as Tuina, Cupping, Guasha, Moxibustion, and Auriculotherapy can all be very useful and efficient complementary tools to release the pain in acute situations.
Because prevention is always better than illness ... Keep in mind:
To move more. Regular exercise will help reduce stress and muscle tension. Also help to create a better blood flow.
Ergonomic factors should be addressed: sleeping position, pillow height, computer keyboard placement, etc.
Study and correct your food habits. Discover what are triggers to your headaches and in relation with your food.
Stop smoking. Smoking limits the flow of blood and nutrients.
Avoid alcohol, foods containing MSG, and preserved meats with nitrates and nitrites. All triggers of headache.
Look into your life-habits: too much or too little sleep, excessive stress, overworking, can also trigger headaches.
Do you still have questions?
Are you suffering from headaches or migraines and searching for support? Please feel free to contact us for additional information without any obligation. We are happy to tell you more about this. You can also immediately make an appointment and start as soon as possible to improve your condition.
How can I prevent headaches?
In the article “The 7 Pillars of Chinese Medicine”, you can find great lifestyle advises about how to maintain a high level of energy and health.
Proper lifestyle habits can have both physical and mental benefits.
Written by Cedric Mallants / Chinese medicine specialist in Eindhoven
The Treatment of Modern Western Medical Diseases with Chinese Medicine (Bob Flaws & Philippe Sionneau)
Clinical handbook of Internal Medicine (William Maclean)
Integrative Chinese Herbal Therapy (Dr. Lee Chen-Yu, Scott L. Herbster)