Cause, Symptoms, Treatment for Headache & Migraine Headache
A headache or cephalgia is pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck. It can be a symptom of a number of different conditions of the head and neck. The pain is caused by disturbance of the pain-sensitive structures around the brain. Several areas of the head and neck have these pain-sensitive structures, which are divided in two categories: within the cranium (blood vessels, meninges, and the cranial nerves) and outside the cranium (the periosteum of the skull, muscles, nerves, arteries and veins, subcutaneous tissues, eyes, ears, sinuses and mucous membranes).
The ICHD-2 classification defines migraines, tension-types headaches, cluster headache and other trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias as the main types of primary headaches.Secondary headaches are classified based on their etiology and not on their symptoms. The main types of secondary headaches include those that are due to head or neck trauma such as whiplash injury, intracranial hematoma, post craniotomy or other head or neck injury. Headaches caused by cranial or cervical vascular disorders such as ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack, non-traumatic intracranial hemorrhage, vascular malformations or arteritis are also defined as secondary headaches.
Belladonna is the first remedy that comes to mind in headache; its symptoms are clear and sharply defined. Throbbing is the great keynote, but violent shooting pains in the head, driving the patient almost wild, are scarcely less characteristic. The patient cannot lie down, must sit up, nor can he bear light, a draft of air, noise or jarring; this last is most characteristic. The location of the ache is mostly in the frontal region or right side, flushed face, dilated pupils accompany. Glonoine is the only remedy having throbbing as characteristic as Belladonna. Glonoine, however, does not have such a lasting effect as Belladonna; it is more relieved by motion, the face is not so deeply flushed, and there is aggravation from bending the head backwards, and it has the explosive bursting characteristic of nitro-glycerine; all of which will serve to distinguish the two remedies; it has the feeling of a tight band across the forehead. Its curative action is rapid. Cinchona also has throbbing, but here it is due to anaemia. Belladonna has also a symptom common to Nux vomica and Bryonia, namely, a feeling as if the head would burst. The headaches of Belladonna are usually worse in the afternoon, the whites of eyes are red, and the cornea is glassy, and moving eyes aggravates. The face is puffed and red.
#Nux vomica. [Nux-v]
It is quite safe to assert that Nux vomica is more often indicated in headache than any other remedy; this is presumably due in the main to the cause of headache calling for Nux vomica; thus, we have the headache from the excessive use of alcohol, the morning “big head,” tobacco, coffee, headache from digestive troubles, constipation, and specially auto-“intoxication” and hepatic insufficiency. These are all common causes of the Nux vomica headache. It suits the gouty and haemorrhoidal, which makes up four-fifths of all migraines. The ache is situated over one or the other eye, usually the left, or else in the occiput. It is apt to being in the morning with giddiness on first rising, and last all day until night, and is accompanied with sour taste or perhaps nausea and violent retching. The dull, wooden, bursting feeling of the head following a debauch is most characteristic of Nux vomica. Headaches of high livers call for Nux. The complexion looks muddy and the whites of the eyes are yellow, and the urine is scanty and high colored. Jousset recommends the 12X or 30X between attacks. There are some modalities of the Nux vomica headache that should be carefully noted, as this point will sometimes aid greatly in making a selection; for instance: Stooping and coughing aggravate the headache; it is worse in the morning; moving the eyes and motion in general makes the head feel worse. What relieves the Nux vomica headache is not so clear; certain headaches calling for Nux will be better by wrapping the head up warm and by rest, but these conditions are rare ones calling for the drug. In general, nothing relieves the Nux vomica headache ; but it will often disappear by rising and being about for a few hours. This is a characteristic point in those headache due to alcoholic excesses. A headache “all over the head” is also characteristic of Nux. Ptelea trifoliata. Dr. Kopp holds this remedy without a rival in frontal headaches,and it will often cure after other remedies have failed.
Genuine sick headache calls for this drug, and the symptoms in brief are these: The pain begins in the morning and in the occiput; it comes up over the head and settles in the right eye. The pain increases in severity until there is vomiting of food and bile, then oftentimes the ache is relieved will be so intense at times that the patient will frantically bore her headache into the pillow for relief. It is especially suitable to women who menstruate too freely. Belladonna may easily be differentiated by the following points: It has hot head, more throbbing, flushed face and cold feet, and the pain coming up from the occiput is not so marked as under Sanguinaria. The Sanguinaria headache is relieved by lying down, Belladonna by being propped up in bed, and Sanguinaria is more useful in the gastric form of headache. There may be also profuse micturition with Sanguinaria relieving the headache, as we find under Gelsemium, Ignatia and in a less degree under some other drugs.
#Iris versicolor. [Iris]
The Iris headache characteristically commences with a partial blindness, or blurring of vision, being similar here to Gelsemium and Kali bichromicum, and it is especially a remedy for gastric or bilious headaches. This blurring of the sight may be preceded by drowsiness and the head begins to ache as soon as the blurring disappears. It is useful remedy for Sunday headache, not, however, in that form which sometimes occur as a convenient excuse for non-church attendance (which is incurable), but that form which occurs in teachers, scholars, professors, etc., in whom a relief of the strain of the preceding six days produces the headache. The pains are mostly located over the eyes in the supra-orbital ridges, usually in one side at a time, mostly the right. The dental nerves are frequently affected. The pains are throbbing or sharp, and when at their acme vomiting occurs, which is apt to be copious, bitter or sour. Especially characteristic is vomiting of matters so sour that the teeth are set on edge. The headache of Iris is aggravated by violent motion, cold air and coughing; moderate exercise in the open air relieves. In sick headache with continuous nausea it is one of our most useful remedies, and if indicated closely by the above symptoms it will not fail. When headaches are produced by eating sweet things Iris is probably the remedy. Paullinia ia also a useful remedy in sick headaches involving the whole head, with nausea, even vomiting. Chionanthus. Sick headache, pain in forehead over eyes, eyeballs painful, vomiting of bitter, green-looking matter, pain in liver and cramps in abdomen. It will frequently cure habitual headaches.
Gelsemium is another remedy which has a headache commencing with blindness, and especially is it a remedy for headaches due to eye strain. Onosmodium is another; here we have dull aching extending down back of neck or over on one side, generally the left; there is a strained stiff sensation in the corresponding eye. The ache under Gelsemium commences in the occiput or nape of the neck, comes up over the head settles in the eye as in Sanguinaria. There is a feeling as if a band were about the head, the patient is dull and apathetic, and there is great soreness in the eye when moving them. Occipital headaches, which are dull and dragging, often find their remedy in Gelsemium. Cocculus is another remedy for these conditions. Dr. Henser, in the Allgemeine Homoeopatische Zeitung, December, 1887, recommends Gelsemium 30 in nervous headaches, saying that three doses will usually relieve. Remember the copious urination which relieves the headache, and that the headaches are accompanied with visual troubles, such as double vision, squinting and dim sight, and Gelsemium will be easily recognized. Gelsemium headaches are also relieved by sleep, and dizziness may accompany. A characteristic of Gelsemium is a sensation of a band around the head just above the ears. It also suits “tobacco headaches.” Kali bichromicum has a headache commencing with blindness; the pain settles in a small spot, is very intense, then the blindness disappears.
Another remedy for occipital headache is Cocculus, and it is a most excellent one; the symptoms are these: the ache occurs in the lower part of the occiput and extends to the nape, and it is intense and nearly always associated with vertigo there is constant nausea. Among the causes of headache calling for Cocculus may be mentioned riding in the cars and a carriage. A peculiar symptom of Cocculus is the sensation as if the occiput were opening and shutting. This is also one of the most characteristic symptoms of Cannabis; Another is a tendency to constant headache, it has also pain in left orbit and frontal protuberance. The headache of Cocculus in general are worse from mental effort, and are better indoors and during rest, and there is a constant tendency to stretch the head backwards.
This remedy holds about the same relation to the left side of the head that Sanguinaria does to the right side. The pains are neuralgic in character, settle over the left eye,and they are apt to follow the course of the sun, beginning in the morning, reaching the acme at noon and subsiding at sunset. There is often a sensation as if the head were open along the vertex. Noises and jarring of the bed, as under Belladonna, aggravate the pain; stooping and change of weather also make the pain worse. The pure neuralgic character of the pain, and its left side preference, should lead to the remedy.
This is another remedy for the neuralgic form of headache, and it has some valuable symptoms. It corresponds to headache of students and those exhausted by fatigue. There is first a sensation as if the top of the head would fly off. There are sharp, lancinating pains in and over the eyes, shooting to the top of the head. The brain seems to move in waves, and there may be the symptoms of a sharp pain extending from the occiput to the frontal region, as if a bolt were driven through the head. Headaches which are reflex or dependent on some uterine irritation are met by this remedy. When there is a feeling as if the patient would go crazy it is especially indicated. Many of the pains begin in the occiput and shoot down the spine; there is a tendency to bend the head forward, which relieves somewhat. Sepia. Migraine, which has existed for years in women with profuse leucorrhoea is often cured by Sepia. It corresponds to the left eye and the left temple and the pain extends backward
Silicea is a very useful remedy in headache, but one not very often used. When a patient with a headache has her head tied up with a towel or handkerchief it will probably indicate one of two remedies. Argentum nitricum if the head be tied up tightly; here we have relief from pressure; and Silicea if the head is tied up simply to keep it warm. The headache of Silicea nervous and caused by excessive mental exertion. The face is pale at the commencement of the headache, but gets flushed as the pain becomes intense; body is chilly. It is supra-orbital and worse over the right eye, the pains coming up from the back of the head. Noise, motion and jarring aggravate. Warmth relieves. Menyanthes is similar in some respects to Silicea , but pressure rather than warmth relieves; and on going upstairs there is a sensation of a heavy weight on the vertex. The headache of Silicea like that of Ignatia and Gelsemium is relieved by copious urination. An additional indication for Silicea is an extreme sensitiveness of the scalp. Strontium carbonicum. This is most similar to Silicea, but the pains increase gradually to their greatest intensity and then decline.
#Argentum nitricum. [Arg-n]
A characteristic of this drug is that the head seems enormously large. There is much boring pain in the left frontal eminence. Thuja has a sensation as if a nail were driven into the frontal eminence. Ignatia and Coffea also have these sharp, nail-like pains. The pains under Argentum nitricum increase to such a degree that the patient seems as if she would lose her senses. Tying the head up tightly relieves the headache of this drug, it being the pressure that relieves. Epiphegus. Headaches brought on by over-exertion, shopping, excitement, etc. Pain worse on left side pressing on temple. Constant desire to expectorate with a viscid saliva. Pains relieved by rest and lying down.
#Melilotus alba. [Meli]
A remedy often overlooked in the treatment of congestive forms of headache is Melilotus. With this remedy there is a sensation of bursting, it seems as if the brain would burst through the forehead, the pains are intense and throbbing and almost drive the patient frantic. The eyes are bloodshot and the headache tends to recur every afternoon. Sometimes the headache culminates in nosebleed, which relieves. Congestive headaches, due to sexual irritation, are speedily benefited by the remedy. It seems to produce engorgement of the erectile tissues everywhere. Especially is this noticed in the nose. This drug will often take the place of headache powders and relieve quite as promptly and more safely. There is with this drug, which reminds of Cimicifuga, an undulating sensation in the brain. Bryonia has a splitting headache; and it is especially suitable to rheumatic cases; it is seldom indicated in sick headache; the bursting sensation is characteristic.
#Natrum muriaticum. [Nat-m]
The headache of Natrum muriaticum is as if there were little hammers beatings in the skull, worse from moving the head or eyeballs. It comes on in the morning, is worse about 10 A.M. and is preceded by partial blindness, as we found under Iris and Gelsemium. The little hammer sensation is also found under Psorinum. Natrum muriaticum, as well as Calcarea phosphorica, is an excellent remedy for certain headache in school girls during menses. A malarial basis for a headache will sometimes suggest this remedy. Calcarea phosphorica. Headache in school children and especially in those who are maturing and anaemic; headache on top of head. Ignatia suits highly nervous and sensitive temperaments and those whose nervous system has given away to anxiety, grief or mental worry. The headache generally centers around the region of the ear and runs up to the parietal bone or occiput, leaving a stiffness of the nape of the neck, profuse urination relieving. It has also as before stated the clavus hystericus.