Are TCM Remedies For Headache Better Than Paracetamol?
Headaches are something that affects people every single day, and there are different types of headaches as well. From tension, cluster, to migraine headaches, they all impact the overall quality of life. (1) But that Paracetamol, many headaches sufferers reach for, may not be the best option.
The thing about taking pain-relieving medications like Paracetamol, is that these medications may actually trigger a rebound headache, which means that they may be doing more harm than good. Unfortunately, these medications are often the first thing headaches sufferers reach for and are being overused.
However, the good news is that there’s a better way to help reduce headaches and get to the bottom of what may be causing them in the first place.
Western Approach vs. Chinese Medicine Approach
We already know that western medicine involves treating headaches with medications like Paracetamol. However, treatment is also going to depend on the type of headache.
There are different headache classifications in western medicine, which include:
- Tension headaches
- Cluster headaches
- Sinus headaches
- Rebound headaches
- Migraine headaches
Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach
In TCM, headache classifications do not exist. It takes a much more holistic approach, looking to treat the root cause of what is going on, and giving a much longer-term solution than just temporarily treating the headache.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are two main causes of headaches; internal and external.
These external or internal factors obstruct the flow of qi, blocks energy channels, and cause stagnation or imbalance. Due to these factors, headaches occur.
Headaches can also be caused by obstructions due to invasion of wind to fire, which can block the free flow of blood and qi in the head.
The liver also plays a big part, which is why TCM takes a holistic approach by looking to help ease headaches and migraines by calming the liver and unblocking energy channels. When these channels aren’t blocked, the body can work optimally, and the result may ultimately be fewer headaches.
It’s all about getting to the root of what is going on and providing a long-lasting outcome for headache relief vs. just putting a band-aide on symptoms by taking Paracetamol.
Internal vs. External Headaches in TCM
Let’s take a closer look at what internal and external headaches are in Traditional Chinese Medicine. (2)
Internal Factors: Internal headache triggers include things like stress, fatigue, insomnia, and menstruation.
External Factors: Some external factors that may trigger headaches include weather changes.
TCM may also be able to help pinpoint which factors are causing the headache depending on the type of headache pain you are experiencing. A migraine is usually caused by meridian obstructions caused by invasions of wind and fire. This can cause that disruption of blood flow as well as qi to the head. (3)
Supra-orbital pain which is pain above the eyebrows which can spread across the forehead may be caused by invasion of wind-heat pathogens or issues with the stomach or gallbladder.
A splitting headache is thought to be caused by localized qi and blood stagnation in the head. Dampness can cause a heavy feeling headache. Lastly, menstruation and pregnancy are also known to cause headaches due to hormonal changes.
How to Treat Headaches Naturally with Chinese Medicine?
The great thing about TCM is that there are various treatment modalities and supplements that can help treat a headache at its source and provide long lasting relief. Here are some great natural treatment options.
Acupuncture: Acupuncture is highly effective in releving headaches because it releases chemicals like endorphins that block pain. These endorphins tell your brain to give off other chemicals and hormones that then send signals between different types of cells.
Nutrition: If you are looking to eliminate the underlying cause of headaches, herbal supplements along with dietary changes, are going to be necessary. To reduce liver heat, you will want to avoid greasy or spicy foods. For Qi or blood deficiency, add more vegetables, greens, and nuts to your diet. Foods high in protein and healthy fats are also great options.
Herbal Supplements: Certain supplements can also be extremely helpful. Here are our top picks to help provide headache relief.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.