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Headaches affect billions of individuals worldwide. The variety of headaches and their causes are just as immense as the number of people they affect. Headaches are a subjective symptom that can accompany many other syndromes. This article is designed for patients whose chief complaint is headaches. Headaches can be included in various acute and chronic diseases such as hypertension, migraine, intracranial diseases, and inflammatory febrile diseases. For the purposes of this article we’ll keep the different types of headaches to the most commonly experienced amongst the population.

1) Top of the Head Headache
The Liver channel reaches the top of the head.

a) Most often due to deficient Liver blood being unable to reach the area. This headache will be dull in character.
b) This creates a sharp headache.
c) Deficient Qi and blood (not related to the Liver channel.)
d) Often patients describe this type of headache as one where it feels like a little cap is positioned on the vertex of the head.

Solution: This type of headache can be treated by releasing congestion to the channels/meridians that lead to the top of the head.

2) Headaches on one or both sides of the head. Possibly in the temples.
These correspond to the Foot Shao Yang, GB channel. This headache is most frequently associated with Liver Yang, Liver Fire, or Liver Wind rising, which gives rise to the headaches on the GB channel. These headaches are sharp and throbbing in character.

a) These headaches can also be due to dehydration or anger/frustration.

Solution: Cooling the channels especially the Liver channel best treats this type of headache. Points on the feet and hands are most effective in treating this type of headache.

3) Headaches behind the eyes.
If the pain is dull, it is due to liver-blood deficiency.
If the pain is sharp and severe, it is due to Liver Yang rising.

Solution: Best course of action is to remove blood stasis by using points that encourage circulation and get things moving throughout the body and head.

4) Headaches on the forehead.
Stomach channel of foot Yang Ming.

a) Stomach Deficiency will create a dull frontal headache. Stomach heat will give rise to a sharp frontal headache.
b) Dampness or phlegm being retained in the head and preventing the clear Yang from ascending to the head to brighten the sensory orifices. This headache is associated with a heavy sensation of the head, a muzzy feeling of the head, and a lack of ability to concentrate.
c) This type of headache is also linked to overeating greasy or ‘rich’ foods. Also, common with excessive sputum from sinusitis and/or postnasal drip.

Solution: Changes in diet are solutions for long-term relief. Also, Nettie pot treatment and acupuncture treatments that target transforming phlegm. As a result, purging the turbid slow moving sputum out of the body.

5) Occipital Headaches

a) Acute headaches here are due to invasion of external wind tightening the Tai Yang channel. This type of headache is accompanied by stiffness of the back and the neck.
b) Chronic headaches are due to a Kidney deficiency manifesting on the UB channel.

Solution: Trigger pointing therapy can be very useful as well as physical therapists mobilizing joints in leading up into the occiput.

Here at Advanced Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation we are here to help with such common problems as headaches. What we hear the most from our patients is how happy they are to find that their are natural solutions to headaches instead having to take narcotic cocktails to alleviate this potentially ongoing issue. Give us a call at 732-894- 9200 to book a complimentary consultation to discuss how acupuncture and/or Physical Therapy can alleviate your pain and brig relief. Will you dare to achieve greatness?


Kaptchuk, T 1983 the web that has no weaver- Understanding Chinese Medicine,
Congdon & Weed, New York.

Posted in: Medical Education, Pain

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