Headaches have become a widespread disease in our western world. Whether acute or chronic or, in the best case, only in connection with flu, headaches are excruciating and considerably reduce the quality of life of the persons affected. But what is an effective, gentle and long-term therapy?
headache is the term used to describe pain sensations in the area of the head. It is based on the irritation of pain-sensitive head organs. These include the skullcap, meninges, blood vessels in the brain, cranial nerves or uppermost spinal nerves.
However, some girls only have headaches, for example, because they wear a ponytail that is too heavy or too tightly tied. Headaches are one of the most common health impairments besides back pain. About four to five percent of the population complain of daily, sometimes severe headaches.
70 percent have occasional headaches or chronic (recurring) headaches. Dizziness is a common side effect of headaches, as is nausea. About 80 percent of the 3.7 billion doses of painkillers taken annually in Germany are taken for headaches.
Up to 8 percent of men and 14 percent of women suffer from migraine attacks. 20 to 30 percent suffer from frequent tension headaches. The economic damage caused by loss of working hours is considerable.
According to traditional Chinese belief, chronic headaches and migraines are caused by a congestion or blockage of qi in the yang meridians of the head. The blockages and thus the pain are mostly due to an internal disorder of the organs and meridians (e.g. “rising liver fire”), only rarely to external influences by weather factors such as wind and cold. Depending on the character of the pain, both fullness disorders and, more rarely, weakness disorders may be present.
Filling disorders usually predominate and are characterised by very intense headaches or migraines with a strong feeling of tension, throbbing pain and the feeling “the head could burst”. In weakness disorders, the headache is dull, often associated with dizziness and other general weakness symptoms, such as excessive tiredness, a feeling of exhaustion, dizziness or low blood pressure. As varied as the causes of headaches are, so too can the associated symptoms.
The International Headache Society (IHS) distinguishes no fewer than 165 different types of headache. Primary headaches occur as an independent disorder. Secondary headaches are complaints that occur as a concomitant of a disorder, for example headache, nerve injury, infection or metabolic problems.
The most common primary headaches are: Migraine: Usually occurs unilaterally, but also bilaterally. The attacks can last from hours to days. They are accompanied by nausea, dizziness, visual disturbances, sensitivity to light, noise and odours.
Women are more frequently affected than men. Tension headache: The head feels like being in a vice. The pain is usually bilateral.
The doctor speaks of chronic tension headache if the pain occurs on more than 15 days a month and has been for six months. The cause is usually tension in the neck and shoulders. Women and men are affected equally often.
Cluster headache: “Cluster” is English and means “bundle” or “group”. The pain described in this way occurs from the age of 30 in attacks and is usually unilateral. The causes are still largely unknown.
Men are affected about ten times more often than women. As mentioned above, according to traditional Chinese medicine, headaches are caused by a congestion or blockage of the life energy Qi in the yang meridians of the head. In order to classify the headache correctly and to initiate an appropriate therapy, the doctor also uses conventional medical diagnostic methods.
He asks his patient to keep a headache diary. The records show whether the pain occurs on certain occasions – for example, during stress at work – or perhaps after eating chocolate, cheese or red wine. The location of the headache is of great importance for the individually designed acupuncture therapy.
According to the traditional concept of Chinese medicine, 4 main groups can be identified according to pain localisation and radiation, based on the affected meridians: The orthodox medical doctor will also first ask the headache patient about his medical history (anamnesis). This includes everything to do with headaches, for example the length and intensity of the pain, where the pain is located or whether it occurs more frequently under certain circumstances. Current and past illnesses and illnesses in the family are also important for clarifying the headache.
In most cases, the anamnesis and a detailed neurological examination can clarify the cause of the headache and thus provide specific treatment. Further examinations are rarely necessary. These include: If an inflammation of the nervous system is suspected, a lumbar puncture is performed to examine the nerve fluid for signs of inflammation X-rays of the cervical spine can reveal signs of wear and tear and the consequences of injury, which can lead to headache.
- Pain in the forehead and temple area with pain maxima in the area of Ma. 8 (stomach meridian, point 8)
- Pain in the course of the bladder meridian with pain maxima in the area of Bl. 2 (2nd bladder meridian point)
- Pain in the area of the point Du 20 is assigned to the liver meridian. – A computer tomography of the head (CCT)
- Representation of the brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRT)