Headache and migraine are classified into a lot of types, the precipitating factors are often pretty obvious that people would have a rough idea of when or what can make them start to have headache. But the cause of it is often unknown or hard to fix. So a lot of people would see the doctor and come back with some kind of pain killer, or muscle/vessel relaxant. These medication can only help for a while, and come with some “possible side effect”.
The mechanism of Headache and Migraine
When the pain receptors on the end of nerve been stimulated, the signal will be sent to the brain, and make one feel pain on that area. Pain receptors are usually on the outer layer of organs, like out side of blood vessels, outside of skull, outside of muscles, and out side of brain. The brain itself is not sensitive to pain because it lacks pain receptors. The most common reasons that can stimulate pain receptors and cause headache are traction or dilation to blood vessels, muscular tension, Inflammation, pressure change in skull, and some of the chemicals in the body. Headache can also come from the spread of toothache, eye pressure, or effect by emotion and hormone disorder.
The medication of headache are often working on these mechanism, so this is why the relief is temporary.
Acupuncture and Herbs would be a better choice
Acupuncture and herb are proven to be able to help on most headache and migraine. The main advantage of it compare to modern medicine is:
- Acupuncture and herbs doesn’t cause much side effect. The most common side effect of acupuncture is bleed and pain during treatment, which can be avoid most of the times. Herbs used in TCM are often leaf and roots, lot of them are actually foods in china or even in other countries.
- Instead of directly interrupt the function of the body, acupuncture and herbs stimulate the body to adjust itself back to normal. Our body is constantly adjusting itself, it is sometimes impossible to interrupt its function by set amount of medication intake every day, and hope that it can keep the body in right balance.
- Usually when acupuncture and herb relieve headache or migraine, it reduces the frequency of it as well. In lot of cases it can reduce its frequency significantly after a set of treatments, or even stop it from happening again.
How TCM look at Headache and Migraine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has its unique view to the body, complicated disease can sometimes has a simple but working solution to it. The cause of headache and migraine in TCM can be classified by interior and exterior:
Exterior cause is similar to the cause of how the pain receptors are stimulated. Each area of the head are covered by different meridian, which enables energy to flow trough that area and support the function of that part of the body. When the local meridian got stuck for different reasons, it will cause traction or dilation to blood vessels, or muscular tension that cause pain. This often happen after people expose to cold or wind when their body is weak. Or happen on people practicing martial art or some extreme sports. Sometimes this kind of headache can be stimulated by sneezing, coughing, exercising, or when going to toilet.
Interior cause will be the imbalance or dysfunction of meridians, or imbalance of the function of internal organs(in TCM terms). It could be a result of life style, emotion, environment, food or other illness. Usually headache with nasal congestion, watery eyes, fatigue, change of body temperature, and pain on forehead is related to stomach meridian and its related organs. Headache with nausea, depress, sensitive to sound and light, bad sleeping condition and pain on side of the head is related to gallbladder meridian and its related organs. Headache with stiff neck, sensitive to weather change, and pain on the back of head or neck is related to bladder meridian and its related organs. Headache related to menstruation cycle needs to treat with the menstruation itself. There are other meridians and organs (in TCM terms) that can cause different headaches, but these are the most common ones.
No matter it is interior or exterior, acupuncturist would treat on the whole body either with acupuncture or herb, or both. (But of course the focus will still be on the local body part) Because we consider the whole body as one unit, so even if the problem only happen on one part of the body, adjusting the related meridian or organ could help on certain level.
– – ORANGE ACUPUNCTURE, WINSTON WANG