Tension headaches seem to be an equal-opportunity affliction. They can be caused by almost any type of stress: Too much or too little exertion, too much or too little excitement, too hot or too cold temperature, too much or too little sleep, too erect or too limp posture, too much or too little food, and so on.
Tension headaches can lead to irresponsible behaviors, though there may be a silver lining. This head pain may give you a reason to tell your spouse, “I can’t do the dishes, honey.” You may tell your employer, “I can’t finish that project.” Sometimes it seems that a headache is nature’s way of getting you to relax.
If, however, your teeth are clenched so tightly that people think you’re doing a Clint Eastwood impersonation, if your neck is so tight that U.S. Steel wants to patent this musculature, and if your eyeballs hurt when you move them (even across this page), then you are paying the price for not resting and enjoying yourself enough. You have some catch-up to do-and it is not too late to take some effective homeopathic medicines.
If your eyes aren’t cooperating with you because of a headache, get someone to read to you the following information about possible homeopathic medicines.
Conventional medicine is relatively effective in providing short-term relief from the pain of headaches. But there are side effects, both short term and long term. Homeopathic medicines provide a safe alternative.
The scientific evidence for treating headaches with homeopathy is mixed. Some studies have shown beneficial results, but others found that homeopathic medicines worked no better than a placebo. Despite these confusing findings, it makes sense to try homeopathy due to its history of safety. It should be noted that although the two studies that showed negative results were well conducted, they primarily tested the treatment of patients who had experienced headaches for 20-plus years. While some homeopaths have claimed clinical successes in treating patients with long-term headaches, the scientific evidence for treating people with more than 20 years of headache pain does not verify this clinical experience.
Below are some of the most common homeopathic medicines for tension headaches. Read the description of the “syndrome” for which each medicine is indicated to determine which one most closely matches your pattern of symptoms.
Bryonia (wild bryony): When a person suffers such splitting pain that a simple motion of any kind, even moving the eyes, aggravates the headache, consider this medicine. The pains are typically in the front part of the head and extend over the entire head, especially the left eye. Pain is aggravated by any type of jarring, and occurs in the morning until mid-day. The pain tends to be relieved by firm pressure, lying motionless in a dark room, and washing with cold water. Head pains tend to be accompanied by indigestion and/or constipation.
Nux vomica (poison nut): Headaches associated with overeating, overdrinking (alcohol), coffee consumption, and a stressful work environment are often effectively treated with this remedy. The headache is typically worse upon waking, from exposure to cold or wind, and with any type of noise or light. The headache is relieved by being in a warm room, applying warm applications, sitting quietly, and lying down. Irritability and constipation with a headache are common symptoms for people who need this remedy.
Coffea (crude coffee): A headache concurrent with insomnia is typical of people who need this remedy. The head pains may be aggravated by noise or any excitement-even good news. Also, use this remedy for headaches related to coffee consumption.
Pulsatilla (windflower): This medicine is useful for people who experience extremely changeable headaches that are generally aggravated by heat, warm or stuffy rooms, and from overeating, especially fats or rich foods. The head pain may be relieved by being in the open air or cold applications. This remedy is also useful for women who occasionally experience a headache at the end of their menstrual cycle.
Belladonna (deadly nightshade): This is a leading remedy for intense throbbing headaches that are aggravated by light, noise, touch, motion, simple jarring (even the person’s hair is sensitive to touch), lying down, or during menstruation or menopause; throbbing pains may also be experienced in the throat. Typically, these people experience headaches around 3 p.m. or at night. Their head pains tend to be relieved by sitting in a semierect position or lying in a dark, quiet room. The symptoms are also relieved by applying cold applications or firm pressure. Belladonna is indicated for headaches (especially right-sided ones) that come and go suddenly. Typically, the person experiences a pressing outward sensation as though the eyes might pop out. Commonly, the person’s face is flushed or hot, the eyes are glassy, the pupils are dilated, and the hands and feet are icy cold.
Use the 6th, 12th, or 30th potency every other hour when there is intense pain and every four hours for average headache pain. Consider another remedy if there is no improvement after three doses or one night’s rest.
Homeopathy A-Z by Dana Ullman, MPH ($19.95, Hay House, 1999) “Homeopathic treatment of migraine: A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 68 patients” by P. Straumsheim et al., British Homeopathic Journal, 1/00