Homeopathy for Headaches
Everyone has an occasional headache, but about 45 million Americans experience chronic or repeated headaches, some on a daily basis. There are three main types of headaches—tension headaches, migraine headaches, and cluster headaches. Tension headaches are by far the most common. Migraines occur more often in women than men, and cluster headaches, although uncommon, occur mostly in men.
Homeopathic medicine recognizes that different types of headaches require different types of treatment. Another underpinning of homeopathic medicine is that no two individuals are alike, and the individual's characteristics, both mental and physical, must be taken into consideration when prescribing an effective cure. There are a dozen or more remedies that treat different types of headaches and different personalities.
Common Homeopathic Remedies for Headaches
When prescribing a headache cure, the homeopathic practitioner takes into account the type of pain, its location, timing, the personality of the patient, and whether certain activities make it better or worse. Listed below are some of the more common homeopathic remedies and the type of headache pain they treat. These remedies may be used alone or in various combinations.
- Arnica treats headaches related to physical injuries.
- Belladonna is used to treat throbbing, stabbing headache pain that comes on suddenly and which is made worse by exposure to noise and light.
- Byronia is used to treat steady pain that begins in the forehead then radiates to the back of the head. The pain worsens when the patient moves or is touched lightly. These headaches may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
- Gelsemium treats heavy, dull pain that begins in the back of the head and extends like a constricting band around the entire head. The headache is often accompanied by blurred vision, light-headedness or dizziness.
- Ignatia treats headaches where the individual feels as if a spike is being driven into his or her skull. This type of headache is often brought on by grief, depression or anxiety.
- Iris versicolor treats intense migraine headaches that occur only on one side of the head and are often accompanied by visual distortions or hallucinations.
- Lachesis treats headaches on the left side of the head that are worse in the morning, when the individual is exposed to sunlight, and before menstruation.
- Nox vomica treats headaches associated with excesses in food, alcohol, work or anger. Nausea, vomiting, dizziness and tension usually accompany these headaches.
- Pulsatilla treats headaches where the pain is concentrated in the forehead. Often eating fatty foods brings on these headaches.
- Sanguinaria treats migraine headaches that begin in the neck and move upward on the right side of the head. These headaches often appear in a regularly timed pattern and are worsened by motion, light, odors and noise.
- Silicea treats headaches triggered by hormones, particularly sex hormones.
- Spigella treats headaches associated with sinus pain.
The Idea behind Homeopathic Healing
Homeopathy is a system of holistic medicine that was codified by German physician C. F. Samuel Hahnemann in 1796. Homeopathic medicine is always personal and individualized. Before prescribing a cure, the homeopathic physician considers the individual's constitutional type. This includes his or her physical, emotional, and intellectual qualities.
Dosing with a curative is based on two homeopathic laws: the Law of Similars and the Law of Infinitesimals. Briefly, the Law of Similars states that a condition is cured by treating it with a remedy that produces the same symptoms as the disease. The Law of Infinitesimals dictates that the lower a dose of the remedy, the stronger its effectiveness. To make a homeopathic remedy, the curative is diluted many, many times until only a tiny amount remains in a huge volume of the diluting liquid. As a result, side effects from treatment are rare.
This is the opposite of conventional Western medical, which prescribes treatment based on the disease, not the individual, and which bases its treatment on the belief that, in general, the more concentrated the medicine, the greater its effect.
Homeopathic remedies are designed to help the individual heal him or herself by facilitating the integration of mind, body, spirit and nature. Homeopathic remedies generally work slowly. Although some people find homeopathic treatment produces rapid relief from headaches, most people need to take the prescribed remedy for several weeks before their headaches are completely banished. Many of these remedies are continued on a regular long-term basis to prevent the return of headache pain.
Finding a Homeopath
The American Board of Homeotherapeutics (ABHt) under the auspices of the American Institute of Homeopathy grants a Diplomate in Homeotherapeutics (D. Ht.). This indicates that the individual has had advanced training in homeopathy. To be eligible to receive the D. Ht., the individual must be a licensed medical doctor (M.D.) or osteopathic doctor (D.O.) in the United States or Canada. The candidate must have taken at least 150 hours of coursework in homeopathic medicine, practiced homeopathy for at least three years, and passed oral and written examinations examination administered by the ABHt.
Other homeopaths are usually trained through varied programs that can range from a four-year degree to home-training programs. Many practitioners who practice homeopathy do so in conjunction with their primarily training as chiropracters, acupuncturists, naturopathic doctors, or other types of alternative health care practitioners.
The American Institute of Homeopathy provides information on training and credentialing of homeopathic physicians. The site also has information on the history and theory of homeopathy and research on the treatment of a variety of disorders.
The National Center for Homeopathy publishes the national magazine Homeopathy Today.