Headaches and Chinese Medicine

Updated: Apr 15, 2018

The Western approach to headaches is generally divided into symptomatic treatment and etiological treatment. The former gives pain medications while the latter aims at the mechanisms of headache development that often uses drugs such as vasodilators, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.

Pain medications can rapidly relieve the pain, but they have limited efficacy and sometimes they don’t work at all. On the other hand, headaches have so many causes, some of them are still not clearly understood, etiological treatment is difficult to carry out too. For chronic or recurrent headaches, an integrative approach of symptomatic and etiological treatment may be the key to prevent or relieve headache attacks.

Tradition Chinese medicine (TCM) has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating headaches. Headaches are often regarded as an independent disease that has been fully explored by physicians from different generations. For some headache cases, if the causes remain uncertain after thorough medical checkups, or those diagnosed with tension headache, migraine, and post-traumatic headache, TCM treatment can be used to complement conventional medical treatments.

Headache attacks differ from person to person; the duration and intensity can be varied over a wide range. It is essential that the treatment strategy is tailored to meet the individual needs. Western medicine treats headache according to the types of headache, named as tension headache, migraine, cluster headache, rebound headache, allergic headache and post-traumatic headache. TCM has a unique way to understand how headaches develop, physicians diagnose and treat headaches in many different ways. Among them, treating headache according to disharmony patterns is the most common approach in TCM.

In TCM's experience, exogenous headaches are easy to treat and usually have favorable outcomes, while endogenous headaches, that usually are long-term and recurrent in natures, are more difficult to treat, however Chinese Herbs have have been found to provide long term relief with endogenous headaches being controlled or even cured.

Appropriate formula prescriptions based on accurate differential diagnosis can only be made by qualified TCM physicians with Herbs Qualifications.

Eca Brady is a fully licensed physician of Chinese Medicine BSc(Ac) MBAcC PGDip(CHM), practicing Acupuncture and Herbs from Harley Street, London. Make an appointment for an acupuncture or Herbs treatment and we can discuss how we can help you, to read more about Eca click here.

Excerpts from the original article by Shen Nong.


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