A homeopathic approach to migraines – with some remedy indications
Updated: Aug 30, 2018
According to the World Health Organisation;
“Migraine, tension-type headache and medication-overuse headache are of public health importance since they are responsible for high population levels of disability and ill-health” (1).
A typical migraine is generally defined as;
A headache, which is:
of moderate or severe intensity
pulsating in quality
aggravated by routine physical activity
with duration of hours to 2-3 days
nausea (the most characteristic associated feature);
attack frequency is anywhere between once a year and once a week; and
in children, attacks tend to be of shorter duration and abdominal symptoms more prominent (1).
The NHS categorises migraines as;
- migraine with aura (specific warning signs before a headache begins eg seeing flashing lights),
- migraine without aura and
- migraine without head pain (2).
The NHS also adds potential accompanying symptoms;
- increased sensitivity to light and sound
- poor concentration
- feeling very hot or very cold
- abdominal pain
The NHS further lists other potential aura symptoms including dizziness, tingling and difficulty with speech, along with distinct stages of a migraine (that may not be the pattern for all people) (2).
So we can see that there can be a wide range of symptoms affecting different parts of the body, that are collectively categorized as ‘migraines’.
In homeopathy, the focus is on understanding the individual response. The whole person is considered – so previous health history, family genetics and unique experiences and symptom patterns all contribute to building…
…an individual picture
of susceptibility to different health issues
and the unique reactions of the body
(including thoughts and emotions).
Questions a homeopath may ask:
- When do symptoms start,
- how do they feel,
- where do you feel them,
- do they change,
- do you have any triggers,
- what makes symptoms better or worse
- how do you feel during symptoms
- how do symptoms interact, is there an order, or a random pattern
- when did symptoms first start, was there a connection to an activity/event/response
- what other health issues do you have – how do you experience these
- general characteristics – temperature, appetite, thirst, reactions to different stressors, sleep patterns, dreams, energy levels, patterns of emotions.
All the information can reveal characteristic responses and patterns. This information can then be carefully matched to a remedy which has the most similar patterns of expression.
The concept of
‘what can cause dis-ease, can cure it’
has long been understood.
All substances vibrate at a unique resonance and have affinities with different parts of the body and systems.
Homeopathy uses natural remedies
to stimulate the body to balance and heal itself.
For recurring conditions (including migraines), it is advisable to see a homeopath for a full first consultation (usually 1.5 hours).
A homeopath aims to understand your complete health picture and prescribe accordingly to resolve the underlying causes (often called ‘constitutional prescribing’).
You can prescribe for yourself and family
for acute conditions (including headache).
You might like to try homeopathy for yourself; you can learn the principles for treating acute (first aid and temporary) complaints eg pain (including headache), cough, cold, strain, minor wounds and burns, minor infections etc.
If you are interested in attending an ‘Introduction to Homeopathy’ session, please get in touch.
Below are two lists of remedies that can have an affinity with headaches and migraines. First, an introduction highlighting potential causes and warning signs by Dr Andrew Lockie, (both from his book ‘The Family Guide to Homeopathy’, 2004):
“Headache Headache is a common pain and is not often an indication of anything serious. They can be a symptom of anxiety, stress, physical tension (especially in the back and shoulders), lack of sleep, over consumption of caffeine in tea or coffee or suddenly cutting down caffeine intake, food allergy, eyestrain, fever, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar, especially if you have not eaten for some time), migraine, drug side effects (especially if you have started a new drug), sinusitis, cervical spondyosis (stiff neck, an ache which extends from spine to top of head, headache made worse by lifting, driving, or turning head slowly) and other spinal problems, premenstrual tension, post-herpetic neuralgia following shingles, malocclusion or sepsis after dental treatment (see your dentist), and high blood pressure. That very common form of headache, the hangover, is mainly caused by dehydration.
Temporal arteritis (dull, throbbing headache behind one or both temples) is caused by inflammation of the arteries which supply the scalp.
Headaches may be caused by pain-killing drugs taken to relieve them: if you are constantly taking painkillers, stop them under advice from your GP.
Headaches can also be a symptom of damage to the blood vessels in and around the brain itself, or of infection to the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord. In such cases prompt action and close observation are required.
If a headache follows a head injury, and the person is drowsy, nauseous and vomiting, the cause may be an extradural brain haemorrhage; in either case call your GP or 999 immediately and give Arnica 30c every 15 minutes until help arrives.
A bad headache, with a temperature of more than 38C and intolerance of light, may be meningitis; pain behind one eye, with blurred vision, may be acute glaucoma or iritis; if any of these conditions is suspected, consult your doctor if no improvement within two hours.
Where a headache has lasted for several days, seems worse in the mornings, and is accompanied by nausea or vomiting, consult your doctor; high blood pressure, stress, or a brain tumour might be the cause.
Constitutional treatment is recommended for recurrent headaches caused by stress, anxiety, or tension. However, if you know or suspect that a headache is a symptom of another condition, which does not require prompt medical attention, look up the remedies for that condition, then compare the symptoms listed with those given against the remedies below, to be taken every 10-15 minutes for up to 10 doses.
· Headache comes on suddenly, feels worse in cold or draughty surroundings, person apprehensive, headache feels like a tight band around head or as if brains are being forced out of head: Aconite 30c.
· Head feels bruised and aching, pain occasionally sharp, made worse by stooping: Arnica 30c.
· Stinging, stabbing or burning headache, rest of body feels bruised and tender, symptoms worse in hot, stuffy surroundings: Apis 30c.
· Throbbing, drumming headache, flushed face, dilated pupils, distinctly worse in hot sun: Belladonna 30c.
· Head feels bruised, sharp, stabbing pain made worse by slightest eye movement: Bryonia 30c.
· Head feels full and swollen, face purple and congested-looking, expression dull and heavy, dilated pupils, limbs weak and shaky: Gelsemium 6c.
· Violent headache in which every heartbeat sets up an answering thump and throb in the head, made worse by stooping or shaking head: Glonoinum 30c.
· Bursting, aching headache, hypersensitive scalp, worse in damp, foggy weather: Hypericum 30c.
· Headache described as tight band across forehead or as nail being driven out through side of head: Ignatia 6c.
· Person often irritable, prone to dull, dizzy, bruising headaches which are rather like being beaten around the head, worse first thing in the morning but better when person gets up: Nux 6c.
· Pressing, bruising headache associated with fatigue, made worse by reading, alleviated by rest: Ruta 6c.
Migraine Occasional severe headaches, usually confined to one side of the head, associated with nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, and other visual disturbances, intolerance to light and occasionally numbness and tingling in the arms. In a severe attack, the only thing to do is lie down in a darkened room until the symptoms wear off. Attacks are often heralded by abnormal tiredness, nausea, or flashing, shimmering or distortion of objects towards edge of visual field; once the headache comes on, these symptoms tend to disappear.
The immediate cause of migraine headaches is constriction, then swelling of the arteries which supply the brain, but why the arteries suddenly behave in this way is not known. Stress, hypoglycaemia, and certain foods are the most frequently cited “trigger factors” of this miserable complaint. Incidence and frequency of attacks tends to tail off in middle age, though they may worsen during the menopause in women.
Homeopathic treatment of migraine is constitutional; however, the remedies listed below are recommended for use in emergencies, to be taken quarter-hourly for up to 10 doses, if possible at the first signs of an attack.
· Blurring of vision before headache comes on, tight feeling in scalp, headache right-sided but less insistent if person moves around, vomit mostly bile: Iris 6c.
· Headache worse on right side, feels as if temples are being screwed into each other, trying to concentrate makes pain worse, dizziness: Lycopodium 6c.
· Throbbing, blinding headache, warmth and moving around make headache worse, head feels overstuffed and congested, attack preceded by numbness and tingling in lips, nose, and tongue: Nat mur 6c.
· Headache worse in evening or during a period, aggravated by rich, fatty food, head feels as if it is about to burst, person easily bursts into tears: Pulsatilla 6c.
· Headache worse in the morning, bursting pain which is right-sided and seems to start at back of head, with pain extending into right shoulder, some improvement later in day: Sanguinaria 6c.
· Pain starts at back of head, then shifts and settles above one eye, aggravated by cold, alleviated by wrapping head up warmly and tightly, person prone to head sweats: Silicea 6c.
· Sharp, darting, severe pain over left eye, pain seems to pulse with every heartbeat, stooping or moving suddenly makes pain worse: Spigelia 6c.
· Left-sided headache, as if head is being pierced by a nail: Thuja 6c (3).
Hopefully this blog and the excerpts from Dr Lockie help highlight the many individual experiences of headaches and migraines. It is concentrating on the characteristics that enable a corresponding remedy to be found to instigate healing at a deep level.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch;
Rebecca@naturally-well.co.uk / 07584 119252
2. NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/migraine/
3. The Family Guide to Homeopathy by Dr. Andrew Lockie, Penguin 2004.