Nearly everybody at some stage of their life will experience some type of headache. Headaches have many causes all of which present themselves differently. The area of the head, the type of sensation and time of the day will all vary due to the cause of the headache.
Following is a list of the different types of headache and their cause.
Exterior Cause: wind-heat, wind-cold, wind-dampness (these are pathogenic influences).
Interior Cause: liver-yang, liver-fire, liver-wind, liver-Qi stagnation, cold in the liver channel, dampness, turbid phlegm, retention of food, stasis of blood, stomach-heat. (These are derived from stress and a weakened digestive system).
Deficient cause: Qi deficient, blood deficient, kidney deficient. (These conditions are due to over working with no rest or a chronic illness).
An exterior type headache will come on fast and is caused by wind. If it’s due to wind-cold the symptoms you will experience is a stiff neck that lasts only a short time after which the wind may penetrate deeper into the body. You may also have sneezing, clear nasal discharge and aversion to cold.
If it’s due to wind-heat you will experience a sore throat, chills and fever, thirst, and a runny nose with yellow discharge. (yellow represents heat).
If it’s due to wind-damp you will experience a muzziness/ heavy type feeling in the head as if your head is wrapped in a wet cloth. This type of headache usually shows it’s self when someone has dampness in the body and a storm is approaching. The dampness is aggravated by the change of weather. Old injuries may show up also with a pain that subsides after the storm has gone.
Headaches due to disharmony of the liver energy will present symptoms like sore, dry, throbbing eyes, pulsating-distending pain around the eye, temporal or side of the head. You may also experience dizziness, dry throat, bitter taste in the mouth and tinnitus. If it’s due to liver-wind it may affect the whole head accompanied with slight shaking of the head, tremors and or numbness.
If your headache is of a deficient type you will experience a dull ache that comes in bouts. Rest will usually relieve the headache. Deficient headaches come about due to not enough Qi and blood reaching the head. Women may experience this after their periods because of the loss of blood.
The previous headaches described are the most common. Migraine headaches fall into the interior type usually also related to liver disharmony. Most interior type headaches like the liver related ones are a result of emotions. Anger and frustration are the main culprits though worry and fear can sometimes also be the cause. Other causes of migraines can be contraceptive pill, red wine, cheese, muscle tension and strangely enough chocolate.
Handy tips: If your headache is of the exterior type it can be eased by staying out of the wind and pressing in the indentation at the back of your head, by the base of the skull at the top of the spine in the centre. Place pressure there for approximately 1-2 minutes, you should feel it release.
When the headache is from an interior cause, hold your hand out as if to shake hands and squeeze the thumb up along side the index finger to make a crease between the two. At the end of that crease (wrist side) you will see a mound, place your opposite thumb on that mound and press down. This should be tender, if it’s not search until you find the tender spot and then hold the pressure there for a couple of minutes. Follow this by drinking plain water.
WARNING: Do not use this point if you are pregnant as it may induce labour however, IF YOU ARE IN LABOUR press this point like crazy or have your hubby press it. It will calm you and help with delivery.
A deficient type headache will ease with rest and some wholesome food. Root vegies are always good also rice soup (Jook / Coongee). Acupressure point: Measure four finger width down below your knee cap and one finger to the outside of the leg from the shin bone you will find a tender point. Hold this point for a couple of minutes. (If you have a sore throat, runny nose and or sneezing do not use this point!).