Your head hurts where? Why is your headache location is important in Chinese Medicine?
Headaches are a common complaint and cause of distress among Americans. There are various types of headaches that can range from mild to severe; some of the most common include tension headaches, migraines, and sinus headaches.
Tension headaches are probably the most common type, with more than 70% of people reporting having experienced one at some point in their life.
Migraines have also been reported as very common-affecting around 37 million Americans.
Sinus headaches can be present in those suffering from hay fever or allergies.
All three types of headaches can cause debilitating pain, making it important for people to understand the difference between them and recognize the signs and symptoms so they can seek appropriate treatment.
Headaches may affect different areas of the head depending on the type.
Tension headaches are typically located in the forehead or around the temples and can feel like a tight band is being squeezed around the head.
Migraines often cause a throbbing sensation that can range from mild to severe and can move between different areas of the head such as the temples, back of neck and eyes.
Sinus headaches usually affect pressure points near your nose or eyes and may be accompanied by congestion or discharge from your nose.
Regardless of where it originates from, all these types of headaches often cause pain throughout the entire head which makes it difficult to pinpoint its exact location.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) assumes that each part of the body is connected with a specific meridian, or energy pathway.
This means that when there are imbalances in the body, certain meridians can be affected which influences and triggers headaches. It is through the meridian system that acupuncturists access the energy, and why it is not necessary to needle in the exact area of the pain.
This ability to work away from the problem is why acupuncture can be such a safe and gentle form of pain treatment.
What your headache location can tell us:
Tension headaches and migraines linked to the Gallbladder channel are typically felt on the sides of the head or at the back of the neck. Imbalances in this energy pathway can manifest through physical symptoms such as headaches, sensitivity to cold or nausea, as well as psychological symptoms like indecisiveness or fearfulness.
Headaches can also be linked to the Liver channel and are typically felt on the temples and forehead. Imbalances in this energy pathway can manifest through physical symptoms such as headaches in one or both sides of the head, dizziness or blurred vision, as well as psychological symptoms like irritability or excessive worrying.
Frontal sinus headaches are often linked to the Bladder channel in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and may be characterized by intense pain above and around the eyes, as well as sensitivity to changes in weather pressure. Other common symptoms of imbalance along this energy pathway include earache, sore throat, dizziness or poor memory.
Headaches and migraines linked to the Stomach channel are typically felt at the top of the head or around the eyes. Imbalances in this energy pathway can manifest through physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea or indigestion, as well as psychological symptoms like low self-esteem or difficulty concentrating.
Meridian Theory and Acupuncture
In conclusion, meridian theory forms the foundation of acupuncture and allows practitioners to approach treatment holistically, addressing underlying imbalances rather than just treating symptoms.
This understanding enables acupuncturists to effectively treat both headaches and migraines using distal points that may not be in the area of pain itself.
By addressing the root causes of headache and migraine pain, acupuncture offers a safe, effective, and drug-free alternative to conventional treatments.