Clinical Information For the Treatment Of Headache

What Is Headache?

whatisheadache?

Headache - Basics

There are four major categories of headache--vascular, tension, inflammatory and traction. The most common of these are tension headaches, which result from tightened facial and neck muscles and can be brought on by stress or anxiety. The most common form of vascular headache is a migraine, which is characterized by sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and intense pain on one or both sides of the head. Tension and inflammatory headaches are generally linked to other conditions, such as stroke or sinus infection.
Below you will find alternative and natural treatment options including those from a Chinese Medicine perspective for headache.

What Patterns Are Related To Headache?

whatpatternsarerelatedtoheadache?

Headache - Diagnostic Patterns

The Chinese Medicine treatment of headache generally involves arriving at the appropriate TCM diagnosis or pattern. This pattern within the individual is what treatment is based on not the general condition (see treating the cause and not the symptoms).

The following patterns may represent the underlying contributing factors for the development of headache:

Blood StagnationKidney Qi DeficiencyLiver Qi StagnationLiver WindLiver Yang RisingLung Wind Invasion - Wind ColdLung Wind Invasion - Wind Heat

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Which Acupuncture Point Protocols May Be Applied For Headache?

whichacupuncturepointprotocolsmaybeappliedforheadache?

Headache - Acupuncture Protocols

The treatment of conditions with acupuncture can be a complicated endeavor that should only be undertaken by individuals with a deep understanding of the underlying Chinese Medicine theory (and/or whatever system being used for treatment). There are many approaches, but generally speaking few viable approaches are involved on a point to condition basis. Rather using proper diagnostic procedures the patients diagnostic pattern is ascertained and that is what is treated. The protocols listed here exemplify some of these clinical approaches.

The following acupuncture treatment protocols may be used with headache:

Which Tam Healing and Tongren Therapy Protocols Apply To Headache?

whichtamhealingandtongrentherapyprotocolsapplytoheadache?

Headache - Tam Healing and Tongren Therapy Protocols

Tong Ren Therapy is the energy healing/medical qi gong aspect of the Tam Healing System. The areas of focus for headache that we would use in Tong Ren techniques form the basis for our acupuncture treatments as well. Generally you would mix these primary points with points specific to the patients underlying TCM pattern and then our tuina (medical massage) would be largely focused on these points as well.

The following Tam healing and tong ren therapy protocols may be used with headache:

26 Points Are Empirically Important For Headache

19 TCM Herbs Are Potentially Used With Headache

The Following (15)Formulas TCM Herbal Formulas May Be Useful For Headache

Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Wan (Pinellia, Atractylodis and Gastrodia Combination)

Clinical Usages

  • Nausea with possible vomitting from combination of damp with liver qi stagnation causing rebellious qi.
  • Dizziness, migraines, and vertigo from damp and liver wind rising.
  • Heavy or oppressed sensation of the chest.

    Clinical Categorization

    Cautions

      This formula should not be used to treat dizziness or vertigo due to liver yang rising patterns.

        Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao Wan (Ligusticum Tea Pills)

        Clinical Usages

        • Headaches, primarily from wind-cold (but used with wind-heat/wind-damp), with neck stiffness, muscle aches and/or nasal discharge.
        • In certain cases may be useful for migraines, frequent headaches - particularly when they are influenced by cold weather and/or changing from warm to cold environments.
        • Rhinitis, sinusitis.

          Clinical Categorization

          Cautions

          • Use only with direction during pregnancy.
          • Avoid in cases of headache from liver yang rising or deficiencies of qi and/or blood.

            Gan Mao Ling (Miraculous Cold Pills)

            Clinical Usages

            • Common cold and flu patterns, particularly at the early stages.
            • Can be used in lie of actual bacterial or viral infection as long as flu or cold like symptoms are manifest.

              Clinical Categorization

              Jia Wei Gui Pi Wan (Augmented Restore The Spleen Decoction)

              Clinical Usages

              • A combination of jia wei xiao yao wan and gui pi wan - similar effects but with more spleen qi and blood tonification.
              • A range of stress related issues - essentially mixes of stagnation with underlying deficiencies.
              • Potential uses with immune / idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and other bruising/bleeding issues with appropriate diagnostic factors.

                Clinical Categorization

                Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan (Free and Easy Wanderer Pills)

                Clinical Usages

                • Derived from the base formula, xiao yao wan, an important formula for liver qi stagnation with herbs added to clear heat.
                • Liver qi stagnation - menstrual issues, painful cycles, irregular cycles, breast distention, PMS, acne.
                • A range of mild to moderate psychological issues arising from liver qi stagnation such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, insomnia, anger issues, etc.
                • Physical symptoms from liver qi stagnation such as headaches, tightness in the chest, cold hands and feet, various eye issues.

                  Clinical Categorization

                  Long Dan Xie Gan Wan (Gentiana Purge Liver Formula)

                  Clinical Usages

                  • Hypochondriac pain, bitter taste in the mouth, irritability, easily angered, headache, dizziness, red, and possibly sore, eyes resulting from liver fire rising.
                  • Urinary symptoms such as painful, hot urination perhaps with swollen genitalia, dark and/or turbid urine from damp heat accumulation in the lower jiao.
                  • Leukorrhea of yellow color with a strong odor.

                    Clinical Categorization

                    Cautions

                      • Not for long term use.
                      • Not for patients who present with yin, yang, and/or blood deficiency.
                      • Use with caution with patients that present with spleen qi deficiency.

                        Pian Tou Tong Wan (Migraine Pills)

                        Clinical Usages

                        • Headaches and/or migraines caused by liver yang or liver fire rising.

                          Clinical Categorization

                          Qing Bi Wan (Clear The Nose Decoction)

                          Clinical Usages

                          • Sinus issues arising from damp-heat pattern in Chinese Medicine - yellow and sticky discharge, sinusitis, rhinitis acute or chronic.
                          • Sinus headache, decreased olfactory sense.  

                            Clinical Categorization

                            Tian Ma Gou Teng Wan (Gastrodia and Uncaria Formula)

                            Clinical Usages

                            • Headaches, vertigo, dizziness, tinnitis, floaters or blurry vision, insomnia as a result of liver yang rising. 
                            • Siezures, spasms, convulsions or other types of involuntary muscle activity due to liver wind.

                              Clinical Categorization

                              Cautions

                                • Use with caution with patients presenting with yin deficiency.

                                  Tong Qiao Huo Xue Wan (Unblock the Orifices and Invigorate the Blood Decoction)

                                  Clinical Usages

                                  • Blood stagnation particularly in the head - migraines and/or headaches with other sensory factors - auras, sound sensitivity, etc.
                                  • Dizziness, tinnitus, hair loss - with underlying blood stagnation signs.
                                  • Stroke, seizure disorder, post concussion headaches.
                                  • Rheumatoid arthritis.

                                    Clinical Categorization

                                    Cautions

                                    • Avoid during pregnancy.
                                    • Avoid with heavy menstrual bleeding.
                                    • Use only under direction if you are taking blood thinners.
                                    • Generally not for long term use.

                                      Xiao Yao Wan (Free and Easy Wanderer)

                                      Clinical Usages

                                      • Depression, anxiety, loss of motivation - resulting from liver qi stagnation.
                                      • Fatigue, bloating, changes in appetite from the combination of spleen qi deficiency with liver qi stagnation.
                                      • PMS, breast distention, irregular menstruation and in some cases infertility.

                                        Clinical Categorization

                                        Cautions

                                          • Use with caution during pregnancy.

                                            Xie Xin Wan (Drain the Epigastrium Formula)

                                            Clinical Usages

                                            Signs of damp-heat with interior clumping which may settle into the abdominal region and/or rise upward to the head.  Fever, irritability, red eyes, constipation, dark urine, flushed face - middle warmer issues - jaundice, dysentery, tongue/mouth ulcers.

                                            Pulse will be be wiry and rapid and the Tongue will be red, swollen with a yellow greasy tongue coating.

                                              Clinical Categorization

                                              Xin Yi Qing Fei Wan (Magnolia Flower Drink To Clear The Lungs)

                                              Clinical Usages

                                              • Colds and/or allergies with heat signs (yellow mucus and/or fever, etc.).
                                              • Chronic sinus congestions / issues, chronic sinusitis, chronic rhinitis, loss of smell.
                                              • Nasal polyps with the right underlying factors.
                                              • Difficult to resolve sinus issues with thick, sticky mucus.
                                              • Headaches from sinus congestion.

                                                Clinical Categorization

                                                Cautions

                                                  • May not be appropriate with heat signs from lung yin deficiency.

                                                    Xin Yi Wan (Magnolia Flower Powder)

                                                    Clinical Usages

                                                    • Colds and/or allergies with cold signs (white mucus and/or no fever, etc.).
                                                    • Chronic sinus congestions / issues, chronic sinusitis, chronic rhinitis, loss of smell.
                                                    • Headaches from sinus congestion.

                                                      Clinical Categorization

                                                      Cautions

                                                        • Avoid in patients with heat signs.

                                                          Xue Fu Zhu Yu Wan (Blood Stasis Relief Pills)

                                                          Clinical Usages

                                                          • Qi and Blood stagnation - pain, cardiovascular issues, physical organ issues.
                                                          • Coronary artery disease, angina and other cardiovascular issues.
                                                          • Hepatitis and other liver function issues.
                                                          • Migraines, headaches, neuralgia from most causes.
                                                          • A range of menstrual issues including dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, fibroids - particularly with pain and/or bleeding.
                                                          • Certain diagnostic types of psychological illness, schizophrenia, bipolar, chronic depression, etc.

                                                            Clinical Categorization

                                                            Cautions

                                                            • Avoid during pregnancy.
                                                            • Avoid with heavy menstrual bleeding.
                                                            • Use only under direction if you are taking blood thinners.
                                                            • Generally not for long term use.

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