A homeopathic repertory is a compilation of all of the symptoms and sufferings of mankind (with corresponding remedies for their cure). It lists every aspect of the mind and body, and is used for research purposes by homeopaths. One section far outweighs the rest in terms of its size: “Head, Pain.” In a comprehensive modern repertory 542 remedies are listed for this complaint!
To make it more interesting for the homeopath intent on helping you find the one remedy in 542 to eliminate your symptoms, the quality of pain must be decided. It may be boring, bursting, bruised, burning, dull, drawing, gnawing or throbbing. And is it in the occiput, vertex, forehead, temples or right or left side?
Choosing a remedy to eliminate a headache is a formidable task for the best of homeopaths, but it can be simplified with an understanding of why people suffer from headaches and an idea of the remedies that frequently can help. Many books have been written that help explain why we suffer where we suffer. The Healing Power of Illness, by Dethlefsen and Dahlke, divide headaches into two categories.
Tension headaches have too high a pressure in the blood vessels, which causes tensing of the musculature of the head and muscles in the neck and cervical vertebrae. This, they posit, often is the result of extreme pressure at work or in a relationship, and it is a sign that our thinking has been derailed, and our heads (thoughts) are losing the connection with our grounding (body).
In migraines, on the other hand, our body (sexuality) is disconnected from our head. They are like a dislocated orgasm, where the blood flows to the head, there is a feeling of pressure, the tension increases and when the blood vessels dilate, there is relaxation. (Similar to Wilhelm Reich’s four-beat cycle.) Things that stimulate or arouse us, like light, sound, stress, noise, or excitement, usually trigger migraines.
Remedies to address these two types of headaches differ greatly. On one hand, energy is being squeezed out of the head, and on the other, the energy is being forced into the head.
For a tension headache, Natrum mur is invaluable. The head can feel as if in a vise, the skull as if crushed. The pain is better from sleep. Nat-m is very closely connected to issues of grief (particularly unresolved past grief. I feel the head pain is the result of “uncried” tears.
Bryonia is an acute remedy related to Nat-m, and it can help when the pain is exacerbated with motion of any kind – eyes, head, limbs – even the thought of having to think can aggravate the patient. The pain starts over the left eye, extending to the occiput and head. It is better for pressure, holding the head and closing the eyes.
I have used Nat-m and Bry with excellent results in a large percentage of headache complaints.
Chamomilla can help with congestive headaches with pressing pain. It is useful when the patient is hypersensitive to pain, when even a little headache enormous, and the complaining seems extreme. The face may be red and hot on one side, and pale on the other.
Nux vomica is another remedy for congestive headaches that may be connected to gastric complaints, which can come on after overindulgence in food or drink, or overwork. Someone needing Nux-v would be irritable and oversensitive.
Cocculus is excellent for occipital headaches with vertigo and nausea. They come on after loss of sleep, and are worse for riding in a car, drinking coffee, or cold air, and better for a warm room and bending backwards. The constriction can feel as if the brain is rolled into a small ball.
When the blood is rushing upward, as in a migraine, remedies of great help are:
Glonoinum for when the headache is accompanied by upward rushes of blood. There are pulsations and bursting pain that causes the sufferer to hold their head with both hands. The brain can feel too large and it will throb with every step or pulse.
Belladonna has violent headaches with the same upward rush of blood, with congestion and a red, hot face and dilated pupils. The head and carotids will throb, and the patient is worse for noise, light, motion or jarring, and better for pressure. The headaches will come on suddenly, with shooting and stabbing pain.
Lachesis has violent congestion to the head with vomiting. Pain is throbbing, and can feel as if all of the blood in the body has gone into the head. Lach helps a headache that you wake with in the morning. Pressure on any part of the body is intolerable, and pains often are left-sided and may cross to the right.
In Mercurius the head feels as if it would burst, the brain feels constricted by a band or a vise. There can be nausea, and symptoms always are worse at night. There is burning in the head, especially the left temple, with pain over the nose and around the eyes as if a tight hat were pressing them.