We all experience throbbing headaches at times. However, headaches can disturb the quality of life. We take a few pain killer and think that it is over. However, there may be underlying causes for a headache, so that it relapses. If proper treatment is not given, a headache can become chronic. Before going on to provide details of how a headache can be cured, let us find out why it happens.
What causes headaches?
There can be a variety of causes of headaches. In three out of four cases, the root cause of headaches is the abnormal function of your nerves and blood vessels, which can be triggered by anxiety and stress. However, migraines are painful headaches that are neurological in nature. Those who suffer from migraines may be sensitive to light and sound. They complain of nausea, which can cause vomiting.
A rarer form of headache is a cluster headache. Intense pain on one side of the face can be experienced by a person having a cluster headache. It is believed that this results from a nerve disorder. Conditions such as sinusitis and allergies can also cause headaches.
The headache can be a pressure sensation if high blood pressure is the root cause, whereas an aneurism can lead to a throbbing headache.
Too much coffee or tea can lead to either abnormal constriction or dilation of blood vessels.
Furthermore, caffeine stimulates your nervous system, which makes you prone to a headache, even though coffee can be used to treat headaches.
Glaucoma and other eye problems can cause headaches.
Dehydration and abnormal release of histamine can cause headaches.
Low blood pressure and low blood sugar can trigger headaches because they can induce the body to release stress hormones, such as adrenaline.
Over-the-counter medicines can cause GI bleeding:
Most medicines can temporarily relieve headache, but migraines and cluster headaches are not easily cured. People suffering from these headaches have to visit neurologists. Nowadays, people are increasingly trying non-pharmacological treatments for headache disorders. If people already have gastrointestinal (GI) problems, such as acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis or Crohn’s disease, long-term usage of a pain killer can cause GI bleeding that may lead to the need to surgically remove portions of their intestines.
How do acupuncture and herbs work?
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a disturbance of energy flow along the meridians can cause pain. To restore the balance, needles are pierced into specific areas. This can alleviate the pain after a few sessions of acupuncture. Depending on the type of headache, an acupuncturist will also suggest dietary changes. They might recommend a reduction in caffeine intake when a person has no headaches for a few weeks.
An acupuncturist will also recommend herbs that need to be taken to assist reduction of the headache. TCM recommends the use of camphor, menthol, cajeput, and clove oil. For ages, Tiger Balm, a Chinese herbal formulation, has been used as a remedy for headaches. A Chinese herbalist will give patients a customized formula based on each person’s constitution and root cause. It may take two to three months of using herbs to clear up the root cause of the headache, but the beauty of herbal medicine is that you will not have to take herbs or medicine forever. Thus, we can protect our liver and kidney function in this highly polluted world.
Research indicates the efficacy of TCM for Migraine Headaches
A finding published in Cureus 2022 by Noreen Naguit, et al., reviewed 15 randomized controlled clinical trials. A total of 2056 people joined the clinical trials, based on the standard criteria for migraine. Two independent reviewers collected data and did assessments. The results showed that, in 7 out of 10 trials comparing acupuncture with sham acupuncture, there was a more significant reduction in frequency of migraine attacks and headache intensity in the acupuncture group. Four studies indicated that acupuncture is just as effective as western medicine but has fewer side effects. Clinically, if a patient has more than 15 migraine attacks, it is defined as chronic migraine. If a patient has been taking medicaition for over one year, and the migraine never goes away for a few months, they may need to try acupuncture and herbs to get longer relief.