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 Naturopathic Medicine : Migraines 

  • Bryonia is the remedy to treat the patient who is worse from from any motion, cannot bear any disturbance, mental or physical; bursting or splitting or heavy crushing headache; fronto-occipital headache; irritable, thirsty; dry lips and mouth; worse from straining at stool.

  • Calcarea carbonica has a headache picture of icy coldness in and on head, on vertex; heaviness in forehead; tearing headache above eyes down to nose; head numb as if wearing a cap; cold, damp feet; worse from milk.

  • Cedronis is the remedy for attacks of headache which occur with clockwork regularity; sick headache every other day at 11a.m.

  • Chamomilla for the congestive migraine with pressing, bursting pain, worse from thinking about it; the patient is irritable, capricious, oversensitive to pain; one side of the face is red, the other pale.

  • Cinchona is also for congestive headache; the patient's extremities are covered with cold sweat; feels a stitching pain from temple to temple; fluid loss, such as hemorrhages bring on this migraine; worse from draft, open air, sun, touch; better with hard pressure.

  • Cocculus indicus has a headache which feels as if the skull would burst; the headache makes them feel unwell, and presents with vertigo; thought or smell of food nauseates; pulsating pains, vertex, temples, occiput or nape; worse from eating, drinking, sleeping; better with rest indoors; the least jarring movement is unbearable.

  • Crotalus cascavella for the feeling that the skull compresses brain like an iron helmet; that something alive walks in a circle in the head; that a red-hot iron is stuck into vertex; pain lancinating to the right temple; this patient wakes up with a migraine; great excitement causes a migraine with nosebleed; icy feet and great coldness; has peculiar hallucinations.

  • Epiphegus for the headache which presents when you are"tired out"; better with good sleep; constantly wants to spit.

  • Eupatorium perfoliatum for a terrible sick headache on waking which lasts all day; pain in occiput; must use hands to raise head; pain is throbbing, shooting, darting, thumping.

  • Gelsemium is another remedy for a congestive headache; most violent in occiput; headache due to nervous tension, presents with nausea in the temples and over eyes; worse from vomiting; better with copious urination; the patient want to lie bolstered up in bed.

  • Glonoinum (which is homeopathic nitroglycerine) is for the migraine that feels like an upward rush of blood; waves of terrible bursting, pulsating head pain; worse from bending head backward and from sunstroke, worse from having haircut; the patient holds head with both hands.

  • Heloderma is the remedy for a very violent headache, pressure as if the skull too full, as if a tumor is forming and pressing inside skull; burning in brain, or sensation of a cold band around the head; intense arctic coldness, as if being frozen to death from within outwards.

  • Iris versicolor is one of the best prescriptions for headache due to stomach or liver problems; always begins with blur in front of the eyes; this migraine may cause nausea and vomiting, burning of the tongue, throat, esophagus and stomach; profuse secretion of ropy saliva; or vomiting spells every month or 6 weeks.

  • Lachesis treats the violent congestive migraine with vomiting and loss of sight; throbbing, bursting, sun headache (chronic), better with pressure on vertex, sleeps into headache (dreads to sleep); better with any discharge, worse from suppressing discharges (such as using antihistamines). Usually a left sided migraine.

  • Mercurius solubilis is for a migraine that makes the head feel full, with a bursting feeling; as if the head were constricted by a band, as if in a vice, worse at night; the headache is most painful around the nose and eyes; worse from cold, damp, draft, cold or warm room; dirty feeling, offensive taste on tongue and in mouth; offensive sweat.

  • Natrum muriaticum is one of the best remedies for chronic headache; dreadful pain, bursting, compressing as if in a vice; may start at 10-11a.m. until 3p.m. or into the evening; periodic, every day or 3rd or 4th day, better with sleep (dark and quiet); the patient feels relief from sweating.

  • Nux vomica has a headache connected with gastric, hepatic, abdominal or hemorrhoidal troubles; migraine comes on waking, or rising, after eating, in open air, on moving eyes; headache of sedentary persons, after coffee; the patient is oversensitive and touchy; better with head wrapped up, covered, lying down, with warmth and heat.

  • Phosphorus is the remedy for aa migraine which is congestive and throbbing, worse from heat, motion, lying down, better with rest. The patient is chilly and worse from cold but wants cold drinks in the stomach and cold applications to the head; craves ice; this migraine is particularly voilent when the patient is hungry; violent neuralgic pain (darting, tearing, shooting ), periodic headache with stiffness of face and jaws; worse from noise and light.

  • Psorinum patients are always hungry during the migraine; they may present with a symptom picture in which the headache alternates with a hacking cough; if this patient goes without a meal, they may develop a full-blown migraine which feels full at the vertex as if the brain would burst out; especially in the morning, it feels as if there is no room in forehead for brain; better with after washing and eating.

  • Pulsatilla is the remedy for a throbbing congestive headache; when the head is hot, and the patient feels better with cold applications or slowly walking in open air; the onset of the migraine may be connected with menses and overeating; the patient is thirstless, weeps esaily, has moods swings, is better with motion, worse from heat.

  • Rhus toxicodendron (homeopathic poison ivy) is the remedy for the migraine which makes the patient feel stupefied, intoxicated; as though there were a weight in head; the patient feels that when stooping a weight falls forward into forehead drawing the head down; she must hold her head up straight to relieve this strange feeling; on waking and opening eyes she gets violent headaches; in children this migraine may come on from being cold or damp, or wetting their bed.

  • Sanguinaria is for a sick headache; pain starts the occiput, spreads over head to right eye, with nausea and vomiting; a migraine comes on every 3rd or 7th day; sun headache; from morning to night, increasing all day, with nausea, chills, vomiting of bile; better with lying down in the dark, sleep; the palms and soles feel as though they were on fire.

  • Sepia for the migraine, particuarly in a woman, which may be described as nervous, bilious (due to indigestion or heartburn), periodic, or violent; better with lying and quiet, often cured by sleep, violent motion (such as energetic dancing), long walks in open air; worse from stooping, coughing, jarring, light, thinking, smell of food.

  • Silica for a chronic sick headache with nausea, even vomiting; begins nape of the neck, goes forward over vertex to eyes, especially right eye; better with pressure, lying down, wrapping head up warmly, heat, profuse urination; the patient is chilly, sweats much on their face and feet.

  • Spigelia is the sun-induced migraine which starts every morning with sunrise, gets worse till noon, gradually decreases till sunset; even on cloudy days; pain from occiput to eyes, especially left; worse from all movements, noise jar; intolerable pains in eyeballs, eyes feel too large for their sockets.

  • Sulphur migraines make the patient feel they're burning everywhere; there may be a "tight hat" sensation; better with head uncovered; throbbing; periodic sick headache; once a week or every 2 weeks with characteristic seven day aggravation; Sunday headache; worse from motion, eating, drinking; patient is hungry when they wake up and "starving" by l0 a.m.

  • Thuja occidentalis feels as if a nail were driven into vertex, severe stitches in left temporal region; boring, pressing in head; pulsating in temples; hthe patient is not inclined to speak; they have a dull, stupefying headache, better with bending head back, worse from stooping, tea and onions; this remedy has cured the most severe and chronic headaches which come on after getting vaccinated.

  • Veratrum album for when the head feels as if packed in ice; feels as if a sheet of ice lies on the vertex and occiput; neuralgic headache of great violence; violent pains drive the patient to despair, they collapse with nervous fatigue, maybe they faint or break out in a cold sweat.
    Can Acupuncture Provide Relief From Migraines?
    Another form of "energy" medicine is the ancient scientific art of acupuncture. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a 3000+ year old system of diagnosis and therapeutics which works primarily in stimulating the body's natural "vital force" (known as Qi - pronounced chee). There are several areas of TCM, including diet and nutrition, acupuncture and moxibustion (a stick of compressed mugwort which is burned and held close to the body to insert Qi into the area of distress), Qi Gong (slow breath and movement exercises) and medicinal herbs. Chinese medicinal herbs to be considered to prevent or perhaps even remedy migraines are listed below. Please consult with a qualified acupuncturist (certified from the NCCA) or Chinese herbalist. The following selection of Chinese herbal combinations, brewed into the "soup" medicine, may be selected for you:
    • Pinellia and Gastrodia C. (Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang): Spleen Qi Xu (Deficiency) with Spleen Distressed by Dampness: chronic headache with dizziness, cold extremities and vomiting

    • Minor Bupleurum F. (Xiao Chai Hu Tang): Liver Qi Stagnation.

    • Cnidium and Tea F. (Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao San): Wind: headache in any part of the head with fever an chills, dizziness, nasal congestion

    • Evodia C. (Wu Zhu Yu Tang) plus cnidium (chuan xiong) and ginger (gan jiang): Stomach Deficient and Cold: dry heaves or spitting of clear fluids with vertex headache

    • Bupleurum and Peony F. (Jia Wei Xiao Yao San or Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San): Liver Qi Stagnation with Spleen Qi Xu (Deficiency) and Heat.

    • Tang Kuei, Evodia and Ginger C. (Dang Gui Si Ni Jia Wu Zhu Yu Sheng Jiang Tang): Xue Xu (Blood Deficiency) and Yang Xu (Deficiency) with Internal:weak constitution, cold extremeties, nausea and vomiting, extremely thin pulse

    • Coptis and Rhubarb C. (Xie Xin Tang); Niu Huang Jiang Ya Wan (patent): Liver Yang Rising: flushed face, red eyes, dark urine, constipation, greasy yellow tongue coat

    • Chuan Qiong Cha Tiao Wan (patent): Wind-Cold; headache in these locations: sides of head (Xiao Yang), top of head (Jue Yin), forehead (Yang Ming), back of head, neck/upper back (Tai Yang)

    • Tian Ma Wan (patent): Wind-Cold with Xue (Blood) Stagnation

    • Ci Wu Jia Pian (patent): Qi Xu (Deficiency) with Kidney Jing Xu (Essence Deficiency)

    • Cnidium 9 (patent): Xue (Blood) Stagnation

    • Uncaria 6 (patent) plus Salvia Shou Wu (patent): Hypertensive headache

    The Chinese often eat a fish head soup with Gastrodia and Ligusticum (available in most good Chinese restaurants) for chronic migraines. There are also many acupoints useful for treating migraines. One of the most famous points is located in the fleshy web of the thumbs (Large Intestine 4). In fact, you can squeeze this area to stimulate a bowel movement (which in itself will help relieve the migraine) and to reduce the pain of a migraine, especially if is presents in the lower face. For the migraine which focuses on the eyes and upper face, a point 2 inches up from the wrist (Triple Warmer 5) will curtail pain, and so will a point below the base of the big toe (Liver 3). For migaiens which come on more frequently with the change of seasons, a very effective point is called "Wind Gate" (Gall Bladder 20), located at the top of the neck, just below the hairline on either side of the thick muscles which run up from the back. These points can also be effectively pressed for relief. Some people find great relief from putting two tennis balls inside an old stocking and tying them together. You can then lie on your back on the floor, preferably in a dark and quiet room, with the tennis balls pressing into the top of the neck. Your local acupuncturist will give you a constitutional work-up, looking at your tongue and feeling your pulses, before deciding on the correct point combination to remedy your migraine.

    What About Using Guided Imagery or Meditation For Migraine Relief?
    Migraines, obviously, are located in the head, and therefore both affect and are affected by your mental condition. Many people find a psychological approach to relaxation the very best way to handle migraines. Consider the following metaphors and correlations between the migraine and your mental/emotional wellbeing. Perhaps some of these ideas will provide insight as to buried sources of stress which continue to create physical problems. Knowing yourself, and acting responsibly upon that knowledge, is an important key to restoring balance and vitality.
    • You may feel that something has to be accomplished or achieved or some goal reached. This sense of need may create a migraine which doesn't relax until after the effort is exerted.
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     About The Author
    Emily Kane NDA graduate of Bastyr University in Seattle, she completed both the Naturopathic and Acupuncture/Oriental Medicine programs. Her preceptor work (similar to residencies) took place in Seattle, West Virginia and China,......more
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