Migraine & HA
Headaches are quite a common condition that many people experience occasionally but they are quite diverse in intensity, frequency, and etiology. In oriental medicine, we can divide it with the area of pain, for example, rear, front or side. Since there are the channels on that area, we also call those with associated channel names. Rear HAs can be caused by external pathogens(cold, flu or other infectious diseases) or high blood pressure. Front HAs are usually related to digestive issues but sometimes they will manifest on the temple area as well. Side HAs usually said to be related to the stresses.
However, some HAs are not only in one area and hard to figure out the etiology. We need to diagnose it correctly to treat HAs efficiently. Depending on the abdominal diagnosis, acute HAs can be treated well with the needles. It is not just a symptomatic treatment since it could get rid of the cause of the problem. HAs related to a digestive issue will be quickly relieved as indigestion was resolved. HAs related to the stress can be relieved as the stagnation of the Liver energy resolved. HAs related to the external pathogens also can be relieved as our body deals with external pathogens efficiently.
Chronic HAs are often related to the lifestyle or constitutional type of your body. Series of treatment should be needed to correctly diagnose the constitutional type. Also through exploration of the diet, habits and emotional aspect of the person is needed during the course of the treatment.
Case 1: 50 yo female. She's been suffering from HAs for more than 30 years. She's been taking NSAID for the sudden attack and also other painkillers for residual dull HA. She tried every possible treatment options including acupuncture, naturopathy, chiropractic, etc. She got some result with those treatments but not enough to eliminate the medication. Recently she changed her diet into vegetarian but eating eggs, dairies, and fishes. Vegetables are comprised of root and leaf. Also, she's been eating nuts and beans for her protein. For bread, she usually had gluten-free options.
After the initial evaluation and several treatments, she got some relief but not enough to stop the medicine. HAs were still there but generally remained less intense. When I examine the constitutional pulse type, it is not clear but she looks like Liver type person in which Liver system is too strong and Lung system is weak. Even though she didn't eat meat, I recommend root veggies and other food for the Liver type person.
The symptoms got less than before but not completely resolved and there was not enough improvement even after 3 months of treatments. After the close examination of her digestive system and bowel movement, we decided to change the diet into Lung type which is basically seafood and leafy veggies. She completely eliminated wheat products, dairy products, nuts, beans, and root veggies in her diet. After a week, she reported that her HA was improved a lot. When she eats something in the avoid list, she feels the symptoms but can manage without the medication. Now she realized that the food she's been eating for her life was the major cause of her chronic HAs. She's been enjoying her life without any HAs and medication now.