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Migraine Headaches

Migraines are extremely painful headaches that can be debilitating. Only one side of the head is involved in many cases. Circulation to the scalp and brain can be altered, which affects the person’s perception, muscle tone, and mental function—causing weakness, nausea, vomiting, sweating, chills, and visual disturbances. A tendency toward migraines often runs in families, and allergic factors seem to be involved. Attacks can be triggered by hormonal shifts, emotional stress, and exposure to offending foods and additives (such as nitrates, nitrites, sulfites, MSG, and artificial sweeteners), or chemicals (such as air pollutants, chlorine, pesticides, colognes, and ingredients in cleaning products). Homeopathic remedies can help to reduce the pain and sickness, especially if taken in early stages. Long-term constitutional care, with the guidance of an experienced practitioner, often helps to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

For dosage information, please read the information at the end of this section. See also “Using Homeopathy With Professional Guidance” in What Is Homeopathy?

Belladonna: Migraines that start in the back of the skull or upper neck and spread to the forehead and temple (especially on the right) may indicate a need for this remedy. Pain is throbbing or pounding, and worse from jarring, light, and noise. Headaches often begin in late morning or afternoon, and may be worst around three p.m. The face may be flushed and red, and the skin feels hot, although the feet and hands are often cold. The pupils may be dilated, with sensitivity to light, and the person may either feel delirious or drowsy.

Bryonia: This remedy can be helpful if a person has a heavy or “splitting” headache, with steady pain that settles over one eye (especially the left) or spreads to the entire head. Pain is worse from any motion, even from moving the eyes, and the person wants to lie completely still and not be talked to or disturbed. Nausea with a heavy feeling in the stomach and vomiting may occur. The person can have a very dry mouth and usually is thirsty.

Cimicifuga: This remedy is often indicated for migraines with throbbing pains (“as if the top of the head would fly open”) or shooting pains in the eyes. Headaches are often associated with the menstrual period or come on after long-term study or worrying. The muscles of the neck are usually involved in the headache, feeling very stiff and painful. The person (normally talkative and energetic) feels mentally dull and gloomy, or even fearful, during a migraine. Pain is worse from motion and sometimes improved by eating.

Cyclamen: Migraines that start with flickering in the eyes, dim vision, or dizziness suggest a need for this remedy. Pain is often right-sided and may involve the ear—which can also ache or itch. The person feels very weak and sick (the nausea is often worse from fatty food) and is thirsty, very sensitive to cold, and worse from open air. People who need this remedy are sympathetic and emotional; they often have an anxious or remorseful feeling that they may have neglected some responsibility.

Gelsemium: When this remedy is indicated, the person feels weak and lethargic, with a heavy feeling in the face and eyes, and droopy eyes with diminished vision. Pain may be mostly felt in the back of the head and muscles of the neck. The person may tremble, and sometimes heat or chills run up and down the spine. Pain often is relieved by urinating. Worry, fear, or dread of a stressful event may precipitate a headache.

Ignatia: This remedy is helpful for migraines in sensitive people, especially headaches after emotional upsets or caused by grief. The headache is often focused on one side of the head, and may feel as if a nail is driven in. Twitching in the face or spasms in the muscles of the neck and back frequently occur. The person often sighs or yawns and may sometimes weep or seem “hysterical.”

Iris versicolor: Intense migraines with blurry vision and pain that extends to the face and teeth, along with vomiting and a burning feeling in the throat and stomach, can often be relieved with this remedy. The person feels worse from resting and better from motion.

Kali bichromicum: Migraines with excruciating pain that is felt in little spots, or pain that settles over the eyebrows (or one eye), suggest a need for this remedy. When the headache begins, the person is very sensitive to light, and vision gradually diminishes. Nausea and dizziness can be intense, but vomiting does not relieve the headache. The person may feel better from lying in bed and keeping warm.

Lachesis: Left-sided migraines with congested, pulsing pain that is worse from pressure or tight clothing may respond to this remedy. The person’s face looks deeply flushed or blotchy. Headaches are often worst before the menstrual period and better once the flow begins. The person feels worse from sleeping (either in the daytime or at night) and is usually worse from heat.

Natrum muriaticum: Migraines (often on the right) that are worse from grief or emotional upsets, worse from too much sun, or occur just before or after the menstrual period, are likely to respond to this remedy. The headache feels like “a thousand little hammers were knocking on the brain” and is often worse from eyestrain. The person may have numb or tingling feelings in the lips or face before the headache starts, and the eyes are very sensitive to light. The person often feels better lying in the dark and after sleeping.

Sanguinaria: Right-sided migraines with tension in the neck and shoulder, extending to the forehead with a bursting feeling in the eye, are often relieved with this remedy. Jarring, light, and noise aggravate discomfort. The headaches improve after vomiting, as well as from burping or passing gas, and are often better after sleep. A person who needs this remedy often comes down with migraines after missing meals, and also has digestive problems and allergies.

Sepia: Left-sided migraines with dizziness and nausea, worse from missing meals, and worse near menstrual periods or during menopause, often responds to this remedy. Pain may come in shocks or jerks, and the person feels worse indoors and from lying on the painful side. A person needing Sepia feels weary, cold, and irritable, wanting no one to make demands on them.

Silicea (also called Silica): Migraines that come on after mental exertion or near the menstrual period may indicate a need for this remedy—especially in a nervous person who is very chilly. Headaches are usually right-sided, starting in the back of the head and extending to the forehead, and are worse from drafts or from going out in the cold without a hat. The person may feel better from lying down in a dark, warm room and also from covering the head.

Spigelia: Excruciating headaches on the left side of the head, with violent throbbing, or stitching pains above or through the eyeball, may respond to this remedy. Pain may extend through the face and is worse from motion, touch, position changes, and jarring. The person may feel better from lying on the right side with the head supported, and keeping still.

Single Remedies Remedy Kits
Combination  Remedies Topicals
Pet  Remedies Bach Flower Remedies

Homeopathy Dosage Directions

Select the remedy that most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a physician, a lower potency (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C) should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually printed on the label.

Many homeopathic physicians suggest that remedies be used as follows: Take one dose and wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue to wait and let the remedy work. If improvement lags significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be taken. The frequency of dosage varies with the condition and the individual. Sometimes a dose may be required several times an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a day; and in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be sufficient.

If no response is seen within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy.

For more information, including references, see What is Homeopathy? and Understanding Homeopathic Potencies.

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The information presented in Healthnotes Online is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over-the-counter medication is also available. Consult your physician, nutritionally oriented healthcare practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications.

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