Headaches can be debilitating, and affect a large number of people – a 2022 review showed the prevalence of active headache disorders in the Global population was 52%. All types of headaches also disproportionately affected more women than men. (1)
Common types of headaches include Tension headaches and Migraines. Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, can be felt like a band around the head and are often related to other factors like stress, muscle tension or neck alignment, or lack of sleep. Migraines are usually a pulsating or throbbing headache, and can come with nausea or vomiting, or a visual aura beforehand.
One particular type of headache that is not well publicised is Medication Overuse Headaches. If you get regular headaches, and you take painkillers to help them two or more days a week, this may affect you. They are rebound headaches from using too many painkillers, and can happen from ANY painkiller. It doesn’t even have to be excessive use using painkillers, just use for headaches several days a week. Medication overuse headaches occur most days during the week, and get better with the medication but often return when the drugs wear off. The only treatment is to stop taking the medication.
Homeopathy is a great support for any headache. There are many good remedies for headaches, that you can use acutely, and seeing a Homeopath for a constitutional remedy can reduce or stop your recurrent headaches. It is not necessarily a quick, one consultation fix, depending on how long you have been suffering from headaches it may take a number of appointments to make an improvement, but Homeopathy is a drug-free option.
There are some headaches that should be considered a medical emergency and need immediate medical attention.
Warning signs for headaches that you need to see a Doctor for as soon as possible:
- Thunder clap headache, which comes on suddenly with severe pain
- Headaches following a head injury
- Meningitis signs: fever, stiff neck, trouble looking at lights, rash,
- Stroke signs: confusion, weakness, difficulty speaking, numbness or paralysis on one side of the body
- Headache only when upright, ok when lying down
If there is anything else that concerns you see a Doctor straight away.
Below are some common headache remedies and their indications – however for chronic and recurrent headaches it is beneficial to see a Homeopath for a remedy that takes your physical and mental emotional health into account, and can help peel away the layers to better health. If you are needing to use one of these remedies more than once every 2-3 months then seeking help to get to the underlying cause is a good idea.
Natrum Muriaticum is one of our biggest headache remedies. It has the sensation of bursting pain, or like little hammers tapping in the head. It tends to be right sided, but can resolve and then move to the left side, or can be found in the temples or the back of the head. Nat Mur has a headache in the morning or waking, or is worse around 10am and can last til mid afternoon.
Belladonna is a remedy for an intense, right sided headache. It is a throbbing sensation, or can feel like the head is pressing outwards, beginning at the back of the head and extending over to the forehead. Belladonna headaches are worse around 3pm, and feel better lying in a dark, quiet room.
Lachesis is a left sided headache remedy, with a bursting sensation. It can also move to the right side. Lachesis sleeps into their symptoms, so will have a headache when they wake. For women, headaches can come on pre-menstrually; the headache will improve as soon as their period arrives. Lachesis is also a good remedy for headaches around peri-menopause or menopause.
Pulsatilla has headaches that are changeable, and can be in the forehead, temples, or back of the head. They can be pulsating, or bursting, or with a sensation of fullness, but can also change from one sensation to another. They are worse for heat or sun, and particularly for a stuffy room, feeling better in the open air.
Cimicifuga is a remedy for headaches with stiffness at the top of the spine, which extends up the back to the top of the head. They may feel painfully stiff, with neuralgic or shooting pains, and pain that comes in waves. The headache can last for days, and make them feel dull.
Cocculus is a remedy for headaches from a loss of sleep, especially if that is because of caring for someone. There can be worry or grief over a loved one, and headaches come with dizziness, faintness and/or nausea. The whole head can be affected, or the back of the head and neck.
Gelsemium has a headache that begins at the back of the head and extends to the forehead. It feels like hammering, especially at the back. They also have a feeling of heaviness, like they can’t hold their head up, or even open their eyes fully. They may be weak, tired and dull. They are worse at 10am, and may feel better for urinating.
Nux Vomica has tension headaches, or headaches from overindulging, particularly in alcohol. It is our main remedy for hangovers, they may also be nauseous, feel worse for noise, smells, light and stress. The headache makes them irritable!
If none of these remedies sound like your headache, that is because there are so many remedies with headache as a symptom, and I cannot possibly list them all. If you try a remedy and it doesn’t help, that means there is another remedy that is a better fit. Contact myself or another Homeopath to find the right remedy for you!
Information in this post does not constitute individual medical advice, and I recommend seeing a Doctor for diagnosis, discussion of treatment options, and support.