Approximately 16.5 million Canadians – 59 percent of the population – suffer from headaches and of those, 10 – 20 percent get migraines. Contrary to conventional pain killers, homeopathic treatment takes a holistic approach to healing by targeting a person’s individual stimulus so as to activate the body’s self-healing powers.
Pain go away: Homeopathic remedies can relieve and help prevent complaints
A migraine is a lot more than just a simple headache: Migraine attacks are accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and oversensitivity to light, strong smells or noises. But a migraine is not just any migraine. It can present in a variety of different ways and there are at least ten times as many homeopathic remedies available to choose from. There is only one though which is suitable to the person affected, and that is the one which is most similar to the person’s complaints and history. This is also Homeopathy’s main principle: “Like cures like”.
Genes play a crucial role
In a society that increasingly demands top performance and efficiency at work, and in which stress levels have increasingly risen over the past 20 years, more and more people are affected by migraine headaches. Because there is often no way to compensate for the daily pressures and to reduce stress. Overall, women are two to three times more likely to suffer from the excruciating complaints. The affected are often not able to deal with their work load.
Even children get stricken by the pain: More and more school kids are presenting with massive migraine attacks these days, a phenomenon we did not at all see previously in children, or only rarely.
Every now and then, genetic defects can cause hemiplegic migraines. Hereditary ion channel defects are possible too. This means that a person’s cell balance is altered. Add to that an external risk factor such as stress and you’ve reached the breaking point! A migraine is triggered because of the body’s abnormal control over the release of neurotransmitters. The brain is outright flooded with excitatory neurotransmitters.
A few years ago, researchers at the Uniklinik Essen, Germany, succeeded in making the so-called “migraine generator” visible by means of a positron emission tomography, a nuclear medicine imaging examination method. This is the area of the brain from which the trigeminal nerve originates. A cranial nerve that releases certain neuropeptides in a migraine attack, which in turn activate the pain receptors in the cerebral membrane. And so the “normal” throbbing of blood vessels turns into an unbearable migraine pain.
It’s impossible for an outsider to comprehend that there is a real storm raging in the affected persons’ bodies. Many are not even responsive, don’t react and lie motionless in a darkened room. Intense pain and nausea are the rule. Often, a temporarily paralysed state with vertigo, blindness and deafness sets in as well.
Typical risk factors for a migraine attack are: irregular meals, too little or too much sleep, changes in the weather, excitement and stress. Also, foods such as cheese, white flour, nuts, sugar, alcohol, tea or coffee. Hormonal factors often play a role too, for example the time around a woman’s period.
Furthermore, care has to be taken to use only one type of metal when using dentures with metals. It is best to get their compatibility tested with an electro acupuncture recording. Because if they are not compatible, the dentures can become an interfering field that triggers migraines.
The Advantages of Homeopathic Treatment
In conventional medicine, simple pain medications are kept on hand for the worst case scenario. However, patients must beware of long term use of painkillers. Because they can damage the stomach and intestines over the long run and attack the protective mucosa. Over-acidification can also happen. A situation where natural therapies such as homeopathy can be of significant benefit.
It is probably interesting for many to learn that homeopathics, in contrast to conventional pain killers, can be taken without concern over a longer period of time. Because they have no side effects.
The main principle of the system of homeopathy which was developed in theearly 19th century by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755 – 1843) is the Law of Similars. This means that the matching homeopathic remedy is suited to a person’s individual symptoms, but also their personality traits. There are approximately 4,000 homeopathic remedies available, made from plants, minerals, metals or animal substances. Each of these remedies will produce a specific combination of symptoms in a healthy person. And these are precisely the symptoms which the substance treats according to Hahnemann’s doctrine.
By potentization – the successive dilution and succussion or trituration – their healing powers are developed and the homeopathic remedy is obtained. The best-known remedies are the globules, the little white pellets.
Keeping a migraine diary will help to determine what the pain triggers are.
Before visiting a homeopath or naturopath for a differential diagnosis and specific treatment for headaches and migraines, you may want to keep a migraine diary. This should include information about the time of day or night when the migraines would typically appear. Where and how exactly the headaches or as the case may be, the stomach aches, are noticed and perceived. And what makes the headaches or nausea better or worse. With the help of such notes, a synopsis of the patient’s history and his or her current life situation, the “matching” remedy can be found that fends off or prevents attacks of migraines. Still, in the case of recurrent attacks, a thorough examination by a medical specialist is recommended. As for all people, it is important especially for those suffering from migraines to observe a balanced diet and relax at regular intervals. Also important: drink two litres of liquids daily and lots of exercise, best outside in nature. In short: have a healthy lifestyle.
How to find the matching Remedy
17 Pain Conditions, and what can help
1. Sudden Change in the Weather – from sunny to rainy:
Many people get sick when the weather changes suddenly, even those who don’t get migraines. They may notice some discomfort or mild headaches but are still able to go about their tasks, but for migraine sufferers it’s like a storm breaking out. For changes from sunshine to rain, the remedy Natrium Sulphuricum has shown to be particularly effective.
Markers: These patients have more of a tendency towards diarrhea than nausea. They are very sensitive and tend to develop neuro dermatitis. Brushing the hair is painful. Typical symptoms are spongy tissues and a tendency to melancholy. There is also a strong aversion to fish or plants that grow close to the water.
The symptoms worsen in warm and humid environments. Also, with fruit and watery vegetables. Furthermore, when the sick person lies on the left side or on their back. Improvement by sitting up and releasing gas.
2. Change in the Weather from warm to cold:
When the weather suddenly changes from warm to cold, the remedy Chelidonium majus can help.
Markers: The remedy is suitable for those migraine sufferers who have difficulty opening their eyes or keeping them open. When the headache is centered over the right eye. Accompanied by the feeling that the forehead contracts and the back of the head is heavy as lead. When all excretions are yellowish (urine, stool) and yellowish discolorations appear on the tongue, nose, face and eyes.
The typical Chelidonium patient is irritable and not impressed by authorities. He or she has an aversion to cheese, but likes milk.
The complaints are aggravated when lying on the right side, by light and from a North East wind. Amelioration from massaging the soles of the feet, eating, bending the head backwards, lying on the stomach.
The remedy Chelidonium is a popular homeopathic medicine for relieving migraines
Many migraine sufferers are sensitive to changes in the weather
3. Sudden Change in the weather from cool to sunny:
A change from cool weather to sunny and hot calls for the remedy Lachesis, the bushmaster snake.
Markers: Suitable when the head feels hot and heavy, but the rest of the body feels cold. For pulsating to throbbing headaches on the left side, starting at the root of the nose and extending to the neck and shoulders.
The typical Lachesis patient has a great aversion to tight shawls, scarves and necklaces, as well as turtle neck sweaters and tight collars. Also bread and tobacco. He likes oysters, wine, alcohol and coffee (which make him feel better). He talks a lot and fast, is uptight and irritable.
The complaints are worse after sleeping and from alcohol. He can’t wait for food. Improvement of symptoms after eating, especially fruit. Also on applying pressure to the painful area and in fresh air.
4. Indications of sun, dry warm down-slope winds and thunderstorms:
When the weather shifts to sunny, dry warm down-slope winds and/or thunderstorms, symptoms can be managed with the remedy Natrium carbonicum.
Markers: The headache feels dull and begins with a feeling of heat and fullness. Particularly when complaints start in the sun, dry warm down-slope wind or a thunderstorm. A typical symptom is an aversion to physical and mental effort. Over sensitivity to music and other noises, as well as to irregular or scanty meals.
Natrium carbonicum patients are “couch potatoes”, their face is reddened or pale, puffy one with blue eye rings. Also very weak ankles.
Vegetables, starchy food and milk make the symptoms worse. Wholesome food, applying pressure to the painful area and massaging the nose and ears give relief.
“Couch potatoes” with migraines feel better when having their ears massaged
5. Change of Weather from coldness to rain:
A dull pain in the forehead that settles in both temples and extends into the left eye socket and the ears, as if the head would split – for a homeopath this indicates the remedy Spigelia is in order.
Markers: The patient’s head is oversensitive to touch. He or she has the sensation that their hair stands on end. The left eye is red with a heavy flood of tears. The classical Spigelia type is weakened with yellowish, wrinkled skin.
Symptoms get worse with cold rainy weather. Also with exertion, tea and cold water. Nicotine, the sun and sex. Keeping the head upright relieves the symptoms. Improvement is also seen by applying pressure and cold compresses on the head. Lying on the right side can help too.
6. Hormonal Migraines:
Those who suffer from hormonal migraines, where stomach aches end up leading to nausea, respond well to the remedy Pulsatilla, the windflower.
Markers: Typical symptoms are wandering head (and other) pains which are hard to localize.
Patients are often blonde, fair skinned, blue-eyed and mild-natured. They are not thirsty. There is an aversion to butter, eggs, meat. Preference is given to peanut butter, cold or alcoholic drinks.
A menstrual migraine typically appears two days before to three days after the period.
Heat aggravates the symptoms. Applying pressure to the painful area and cold applications improve them.
7. Sharp pains due to hormonal changes:
If the complaints are caused by hormonal changes (period, pregnancy or menopause) and if they are of a shooting, sharp, surging nature – in the forehead and the temples and extending to the left eye – then this is an indication for Sepia, the ink of the cuttlefish.
Markers: Patients are tired, exhausted, irritable and want to be alone. Hands and feet are cold. A desire for specific spices is typical.
A deterioration is generally noticeable before noon and in the evening, also with thunderstorms. Improvement with exercise and heat.
8. Emotional Problems:
If there are no physical triggers, but the person has been having emotional problems for a longer period of time, then give the remedy Natrium chloratum a try.
Markers: Constant thirst is a typical symptom. This homeopathic medicine is indicated especially in cases where patients can’t stand for long periods of time, when the migraine typically sets in between 9 and 11 in the morning and the complaints get worse in the sun. Also, when there is a craving for salt.
The Natium chloratum type appears boisterous, is very sensitive and bears grudges. She does not want any words of comfort or sympathy.
Complaints get worse from noise, heat, the sun and light, and now and again also when at the ocean side and from stress. Improvement of symptoms from sweating, fresh air and lying on the right side.
People who respond well to Natrium chloratum are withdrawn, sensitive and hold grudges.
9. After emotional trauma:
If the pain feels like a nail piercing into the head, the migraine attack develops after acute emotional trauma such as the death of a loved one or a separation, then this is a clear case for Ignatia, the Ignatius bean.
Markers: There are contradictory symptoms and behaviours, for example eating reduces nausea, or laughing first and then crying. There is generally an aversion to fruit and cigarette smoke.
Patients are often dark haired and feel emotionally overwhelmed.
Sweets make the complaints worse, just as does standing for longer periods, cold air and bending. Touching and consolation are not tolerated. Relief from sour food, physical exertion, breathing in deeply and warmth. As well, Ignatia persons prefer to be alone.
Traumatic situations and grief can also trigger migraines
10. In anticipation of emotional events:
If the person feels ill already before an event, just from the thought of it, and the anticipation causes an upset tummy and bowels, then this is an indication for the remedy Argentum nitricum, the nitrate of silver.
Markers: The headache feels as if the head were in a vice. A cold to numb feeling in the hands and feet. Craving for sugar and salt, but feeling worse after eating it.
Heat and crowds of people make the symptoms worse. Improvement out of doors and, especially, from releasing gas from her distended stomach.
11. When stressed:
Those who are dogged predominantly by left-sided headaches when they have too much mental work to handle, who sit at a desk, and reach for stimulants such as alcohol, nicotine or coffee, are best suited to the remedy Nux vomica, the poison nut.
Markers: The Nux-vomica type is rather choleric, usually thin and dark-haired, and they reluctantly take the time to take in a warm meal in a calm setting. They have a tendency towards addictions of all kinds, and jealousy.
The symptoms are worse in cold air, wind or draft. Relief from warmth and tranquility.
12. Complaints once peace and quiet sets in:
Everything is going well during the work week, but come the weekend, the person is often troubled by a migraine attack –in this case scenario it would be worthwhile to try the remedy Iris Versicolor, the blue flag.
Markers: Fatigue and complaints of vision ahead of the migraine attack are typical. The pain is localized on the right side of the head. Further markers are a burning of the tongue, esophagus and stomach. Iris types are often thin, nervous, pale, blonde and artistically inclined.
Their complaints like to get worse at night and when there is peace and quiet. Improvement with light exercise.
13. Aggravation from exercise:
When the nausea gets worse with exercise, the remedy Petroleum will be beneficial. The same goes for headaches as if the head were full of bruises and about to burst.
Markers: This type of patient is generally blonde, pale and thin (but not necessarily) and has an aversion to meat, fat and warm food.
Cold wind around the head is experienced as painful. Worsening of the symptoms from cabbage. Improvement from tranquility and lying on the back. Petroleum is also a classical homeopathic remedy for travel sickness.
Travel sickness? Homeopathic remedies are helpful in these cases too
14. Nausea and cold body:
When the pain sets in suddenly, like a hammer, with intense nausea and the sensation that the body is ice cold, then tabacum is often helpful.
Markers: Typical symptoms are a cold sweat, a pale to yellow-greenish face and sensitivity to noise. The head feels extremely heavy, as if a band were wrapped around tightly. Patients have to keep their eyes closed in the lying position. Aggravation from the least motion and sitting up. Improvement from cold applications, spending time outdoors and vomiting. Also lying on the left side.
15. Stomach ache and “metal hat” on the head:
When there is nausea accompanied by bad stomach aches and a knocking headache that feels like a “metal hat” bearing down on the head (with pressure in the eye balls), then Eupatorium perfoliatum, the boneset, can help.
Markers: The affected persons find it impossible to look to the right side or lie on the right side. They are exhausted, of a haggard stature and lean towards heavy consumption of alcohol. There is a yellow coating on the tongue.
Worsening of the symptoms from drinking water and smelling food. Improvement after vomiting. Talking helps to distract from the pain.
Migraine patients with a “helmet feeling” on the head often feel extremely nauseous at the same time.
16. When too many impressions all at once are taxing:
For people who are open, outgoing and creative, who burn themselves out quickly and get headaches from too many different impressions, the remedy Phosphorus has proven helpful.
Markers: This homeopathic remedy can be helpful for headaches that feel hot and dull (over an eye).
Patients typically have an artistic character with fine, long hands. They react overly sensitive to environmental impressions, odours and touch. The complaints are aggravated from light, noise, thunderstorms, emotional upset, mental exhaustion and fasting. Improvement from eating, sleeping, cold applications and cold water on the forehead and face.
17. Recurring Attacks:
A homeopathic remedy that has proven helpful for recurring migraines is Silicea.
Markers: Especially when the pressing pain in the forehead is accompanied by neuralgic pains in the face, eyes and teeth. It often starts in the neck and then goes up to the right eye from there.
Just like the Natrium chloratum type, the Silica type too is often thirsty. She strikes you as yielding and shy, but has a strong inner core. She usually rejects meat, asks for cold meals and milk.
Pains in the head and face get worse from mental exertion. From talking, bending, noises and light. Improvement from wrapping the head and from warmth in general.
It’s all about know-how when it comes to keeping migraines under control and making provisions early enough. This short overview can help to get to the bottom of the diverse range of possible causes and brace yourself effectively against the migraine devil.
Of course, you may choose to come in and let us help in finding your constitutional remedy to treat your migraines. This holistic approach seeks to find your completely individualized remedy which incorporates not only your headache symptoms but all of your unique symptoms.
If you have any questions about this article, homeopathy or any other service we offer, give us a call at (519) 603-0505 and we’d be happy to talk to you. Or book an appointment online.
Irene Schwens Hom, DHMHS, C.Tran.
Owner / Homeopath Registration #15241
K-W HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE
……………………….………AND WELLNESS CLINIC
751 King Street West, Suite 310
Kitchener, ON N2G 1E5
T (519) 603-0505
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“The physician’s highest and only calling
is to make the sick healthy, to cure, as it is called”
— Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, §1, Organon of the Medical Art —