Head pain or headache is defined as pain anywhere in the region of head or upper part of neck, which can occur due to many different medical conditions. Head pain can be localized or may radiate from one location to another location; it can also occur as referred pain, which comes from any other region of the body. Nowadays it has become the commonest ailment in the people all over the world. There are many forms of head pain like migraine headache, cluster headache, tension headache etc. There are various factors which can aggravate head pain like light noise, sound, strong smell etc.
The exact symptoms will depend upon the cause of head pain. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Heaviness in head
- Heaviness in eyes
- Disturbed concentration
- Sensitivity to light, noise and odor
- Aversion to physical or mental work
- Blurred vision
Types of Head Pain
Headaches are broadly classified as primary or secondary. Primary headaches are recurrent benign head pains not caused by underlying disease or structural problems. For eg, migraine is a type of primary head pain. 90% of all headaches are primary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by an underlying disease, like an infection, head injury, hypertension, stroke or tumors.
- Migraines typically present with pulsing head pain, nausea, photophobia (sensitivity to light) and phonophobia (sensitivity to sound). They are often one sided or hemicrania.
- Tension-type headaches usually present with non-pulsing “bandlike” pressure on both sides of the head, not accompanied by other symptoms.
- Cluster headaches are short episodes (15–180 minutes) of severe pain, usually around one eye, with autonomic symptoms (tearing, red eye, nasal congestion) which occur at the same time every day.
Causes of Headache
In our day to day life, a headache may get precipitated due to missed meals, overeating, stress, exposure to sun, alcohol etc. Other pathological causes of headache include:
- Occipital neuralgia – Often caused due to damage to the nerve.
- Brain tumor – With increased intracranial pressure, headache often associated with vomiting.
- Injury or trauma – To the particular side of head can cause headache.
- Sinus infection – May cause one sided head pain.
- Eye strain – headache can be caused due to weakness of vision or may associate with other medical conditions related to eyes.
- Meningitis – infection along with inflammation of the meninges in the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord causes severe head pain.
- Hypertension – common cause of head pain.
- Menopause – commonly found in women of menopausal age.
- Stress – stress, anxiety and depression may also precipitate head pain.
- Complications during pregnancy – head pain may occur in some specific conditions during pregnancy like preeclampsia, eclampsia.
- Cervical spondylosis – causes pain that extends to head.
The exact mechanisms which cause primary headaches like, migraines, tension headaches and cluster headaches, are not known. There have been different theories over time which attempt to explain what happens in the brain to cause these headaches. Dysfunction of nerves as well as dilation and irritation of cranial blood vessels are implicated.
Diagnosis can be made on the basis of sign symptoms and cause of head pain. Some common tests to filter the possible cause of headache are:
- Blood tests for anemia and infection
- Blood pressure measurement for hypertensive headache
- CT scan or MRI of head, to rule out any pathology involving head or brain
- X-Ray PNS (Paranasal sinuses) for headache due to sinusitis.
- Eye checkup
Treatment of Headache
Treatment depends upon the cause and condition of the head pain. In allopathic treatment is available by medication especially analgesics, corticosteroids, anticonvulsant drugs, and tricyclic antidepressants are often used to relieve head pain.
Homeopathic treatment of headache
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering.
The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat head pain but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several well-proved medicines are available for headache treatment that can be selected on the basis of cause, location, sensation, modalities and extension of the pain. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are some specific homeopathic remedies which have remarkable action over headache:
Aconite, Belladonna, Spigelia, Sanguinaria, Pulsatilla, Sulphur, Glonine, Natrum mur, Natrum carb, Arnica mont, Arsenic alb, Gelsemium, Platina, Bryonia, Kali carb, Kali bi, Nux vom, Onosmodium, Ignatia, Sepia, Phosphorus, Lachesis and many other medicines.
Apis: Apis mel., which is made up from honey bee has special affinity for serous membranes of brain, heart and pleura and it produces inflammation with effusion. It’s a wonderful medicine for headache in cases of meningitis. Brain feels very tired. Sudden stabbing pain, painful hair. Boring of head; backward in pillow in meningitis. Patient is Thirstless with nearly all complaints. Head feels swollen.
Argentum nitricum: Arg. nit. is known for its necrotic effects on cerebro-spinal nerves. That is why it is a great remedy for nervous headache, with coldness and trembling, aggravation from mental exertion. Migraine; bones of head feels separated; head feels much enlarged. Boring pain which is better on tight bandaging and pressure. Head pains in hysterical young women, of delicate literary persons.
Belladonna: In homeopathy belladonna is known for its action on circulation of blood in vessels and producing congestion. Belladonna is always associated with heat, flushed face, throbbing carotids and an excited mental state.
Head pains from suppressed catarrhal flow; where the head feels fullness, throbbing pain and heat. Pain worse from light, jar and better by pressure. Belladonna is also indicated in severe neuralgic headache that comes and goes suddenly. Head pain worse on right side and on lying down; ill effects of cold and from having a haircut.
Cedron: Orbital neuralgia, pain from temple to temple, across the forehead. Pain is so severe that makes the patient crazy. Periodicity in head pain is very common in cases which requires cedron means pain comes at same hour, every alternate day etc. The whole body feels numb during headache.
China: Pain in head after long exhausting discharges, with weakness and debility. It is also good for some gastric headaches. Intense throbbing in the head as if skull would burst. Sensation as if brain were swashing to and fro, causing pain. Sore sensitive scalp, aggravation from slight touching or combing hair.
Gelsemium: Dullness, dizziness, drowsiness and trembling are usually presenting symptoms of any disease condition requiring Gelsemium. Best suited for occipital headache; dull heavy pain starts from occiput extending to eye, ear and alae nose. Headache associated with cervical spondylosis. Headache preceded by blindness and better by profuse urination.
Glonine: It’s a great remedy for congestive pain in head, hyperaemia of brain from excessive heat. Headache after sunstroke; waves of terrible, bursting pounding headache with some dizziness and confusion. Head heavy but cannot lay it on pillow. Sensation as if blood is surging back and forth in the head, synchronous with the pulse. Pain in head before, during , after or in place of menses.
Iris versicolor: Iris is a wonderful homeopathic remedy for migraine. Sick headache with nausea and vomiting. Headache begins with blur before eyes. Head pain from too much mental work (studying or sewing).
Lachesis: prepared from snake poison, this drug has specific modalities which are important in guiding to the remedy. Worse after sleep, worse from warmth and left side is mainly affected. Patient always feels better after appearance of discharges; like head pain in women is relived after onset of menses. Headache from suppressed catarrh relived from nasal discharge. Headache from heat or sun. headache is very marked where flickering in eyes is also there.
Natrum mur: Pain in head as if thousand little hammers were knocking on the brain. Head pains in school girls; who are anaemic, pale face, nervous and irritable. Chronic headache; semilateral; congestive and from sunrise to sunset. Head pain from eye strain is also comes under its action. Chronic headache from long lasting grief, anger. Patient is usually reserved and irritable, wants to be alone and consolation always aggravates him.
Nux vomica: it is the commonest and frequently indicated medicine in homeopathy. It corresponds to many disease conditions which are outcome of modern day lifestyle. Headache from too much mental exertion, night watching, from abuse of alcohol or from disturbed digestion all come in its sphere.
Spigelia: Spigelia or pinkroot is very effective in treating semilateral head pain or one sided head pain of especially left side. Pain starts from occiput extends upword, to left temple and settles over left eye. Vertigo, hearing exalted. Pain violent throbbing; worse, making a false step.
Sanguinaria canadensis: Sanguinaria has hemicrania of especially right side. Pain ascends from occiput to right eye. Head pain increases and decreases with sun. Pain is better by lying down and sleep. Headache at climacteric with marked periodicity. Pain in occiput is like a flash of lightening.