Having Gremlins in Your Head?

You may have a headache every day or you may have an occasional headache. A headache is annoying, painful, reduces concentration and interferes with all your activities. It also makes you short-tempered and affects you in many physical and physiological ways. While you may pop a pill to deal with the headache, it is important to understand why you get a headache and how you can better deal with it using alternative remedies like Chinese Medicine like acupuncture, osteopathy and massage therapy.

HEADACHE CAUSES

If you get a primary headache which may be due to certain foods, sleep disturbances, stress, repressed anger or other reasons, it can be easily treated. These ‘normal’ headaches may be cluster headaches, migraines, tension headaches or due to trigeminal neuralgia (nerve pain in any part of the face that goes to the brain). Among the common disorders that are associated with such headaches are

 

  • Flu
  • Cold
  • Fever
  • Sinusitis
  • Ear or dental problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Hangover
  • Hunger
  • Digestive problems
  • Vision problems

 

Secondary headaches occur due to an underlying cause that may or may not be diagnosed. Such headaches may be a symptom of serious diseases like meningitis, stroke, aneurysm, concussion and glaucoma which need to be diagnosed and appropriately treated for the headache to go away. These causes can have serious consequences, so headaches should not be taken lightly. You may need to see your family doctor if you have a sudden onset of a persistent headache that never goes away to get to the root cause of the headache, so that you can get the right treatment.

 

TENSION HEADACHES

 

Constant and daily headaches with no known underlying cause can be extremely distressing and are among the most common. Tension headaches that feel like a tight band around your head along with pressure, pain in the neck and/or temples and may be a minor annoyance that can be treated by pain killers, bio-feedback, stress reduction therapies and relaxation, singly or in combination.

Tension headaches may be caused by muscle contraction in the neck or scalp. Manual therapies (osteopathy, physiotherapy, massage) and mind relaxation therapies such as sophrology can help. Osteopaths and physiotherapists can also help you make the right diagnosis and find your best course of treatment.

 

OTHER THERAPIES

 

In the absence of any serious causes of your headaches after consulting with your medical doctor, there are other alternative therapies you can try. There are many different holistic practices that can help with headaches. Among the natural remedies you can try are

 

HOW CHINESE MEDICINE & ACUPUNCTURE HELP WITH HEADACHES

 

As an alternative remedy acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular. While many people may be apprehensive of needles, the needles used for acupuncture treatment are very fine and actually afford pain relief. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is safe and does not cause any side effects. Scientific studies have shown that acupuncture gives relief in chronic cases of tension headaches.

The acupuncturist will first check you out and diagnose which kind of headaches you have, the severity of pain and the location of the pain. Accordingly, the needles are inserted with the aim to restore balance in the body since headaches arise from certain deficiencies or excesses. When the free flow of Qi (as traditional Chinese Medicine says) is restored in the body you will experience relief from the headache pain.

 

HOW OSTEOPATHY HELPS WITH HEADACHES

 

Osteopathy can help with headache especially in tension and cervicogenic headches. Many nerves and muscles of the neck can be involved in causing tension headaches. The osteopath will examine you thoroughly and then use his or her knowledge and skills to manipulate and work on the areas that are responsible for the headaches. Usually the head, neck, jaws, shoulders and even back may be stiff and tense, leading to headaches.

Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) releases tension and improves blood flow in the areas where it is restricted and decreases headache pain.

Osteopathy uses manipulations of the joints, massage and lymphatic drainage techniques, often in combination, to deal with tension headaches. Sometimes trigger point therapy may also be used. At the same time you will be given advice regarding stretching and other exercises, including posture correction, if required. Following the osteopath’s recommendations, you can even try massage therapy on your own, particularly when you feel a headache coming on. You also have to make corrections in your lifestyle so that you can experience long lasting relief.

Don’t suffer from debilitating and painful headaches, but take action to get rid of them. Remember popping a pill can only be a short term measure, so do try alternative remedies like acupuncture and osteopathy.

Benjamin Lai
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