Headaches & Migraines

Headaches and migraines can be very debilitating for sufferers. Time taken off work and missed social gatherings can be a great cause of anxiety and concern. Anyone who suffers from not only headaches, but migraines know this beast all too well. Some people find patterns to their headaches, these may include: stress, hormonal triggers, dehydration, allergies, constipation, sinus issues, exhaustion, overwork, eyestrain and neck and shoulder pain. Others seem to be at a loss as to why they are occurring as they don’t seem to fit a pattern.

Headaches and migraines are often a sign of internal imbalance. These can be due to musculo-skeletal issues or what complimentary medicine defines as internal medicine conditions. The Chinese believe there are many types of headaches. Headaches that run up the back of the neck, into the shoulders and sometimes under the shoulder blades can be related to bladder and gallbladder channel disharmony in cases of musculoskeletal issues. A Myotherapy appointment along with dry needling or a Chiropractic session can release these areas and free up the channel, not only relieving muscular pain, but headaches as well. Acupuncture along with cupping or gua sha can also help.

Different Types of Headaches

Many of us are aware of a headache as a throbbing, aching or uncomfortable pain in our head. There are multiple reasons that can cause different types of headaches; from a self inflicted hangover, dehydration, caffeine withdrawals, exertion. hormonal imbalances, sinus or allergies and muscle tension - just to name a few!

Different types of headaches from a Chinese Medicine perspective:

Different types of primary headaches from a Western medicine perscpective:

Different types of primary headaches from a Western medicine perscpective:

 One sided headache can be more leaning towards the gallbladder. Headaches of the occiput can be related to the kidney and bladder. Frontal headaches can be attributed to the spleen, temporal headaches can be related to the liver whilst headaches behind the eyes are a sign of liver blood deficiency. Headaches can also result from cold and flu symptoms or what is known as a hidden/latent pathogen.

Please don’t think that there is anything wrong with any of these organs and rush off to your GP to have them all tested. From a Chinese medicine perspective these issues arise from an organ energy deficiency or obstruction. For example, your liver function may come back great in blood tests, however the qi, fluids, phlegm or blood in Chinese terms can be what is causing the underlying conditions.

Different types of primary headaches from a Western medicine perscpective:

Different types of primary headaches from a Western medicine perscpective:

Different types of primary headaches from a Western medicine perscpective:

Primary Headaches: 

  • Episodic headaches may occur once in a while and can last anywhere from 30 mins to several hours.
  • Chronic headaches are more consistent. and can occur most days out of the month. These can last days at a time.

Tension Headaches:

Dull, aching and sensitivity around the neck or scalp is the common symptoms with a tension headahce. Usually caused from stress, postural issues or muscle tensions (trigger points). 

Cluster Headaches:

Typcaially a more peircing pain and can affect the eye region, or more common one side of the face or head. These headaches can last 15mins - 3 hours and you can experinece multiple in one day.


An intense pulsing or throbbing from deep within your head, this pain can last for days. Sensitivity to light and sound are typcial and nausea and vomiting also usually occur. 

When to see your GP

If you have suffered these conditions for a long time or especially if these conditions arise suddenly (like being woken at night with piercing sharp pain),  then we strongly advise that you do seek medical advice to ensure that nothing sinister is going on. Whilst sinister conditions are rare. It’s a great idea to rule out any serious medical conditions before you undergo treatment at Samsara. Any confsion, high temperatures, the feeling of the "worst headhache" possible, visual loss, rashes, slurred speech, numbness or neural pain assoicated with headaches should seek medical attention immediately. 

If you have had a scan prior and nothing showed up but you are still suffering pain, then its most likely related to qi and blood or trigger points and muscle tension.

What About Blood Tests and Scans?

 We also advise that you bring along any recent blood tests or scans as our practitioners can implement these when devising a treatment plan for you. Myotherapy and Chiropactic sessions will be interested to have any scan reports or images you have and  for blood test results in particular Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture sessions or Naturopathy. Blood tests whilst being within normal ranges can give the practitioner insights into subtleties that could be leading to internal disharmonies. A list of medications you are on can also lead to appropriate herbal prescription. For example: if you are on blood thinners (such as warfarin), the Chinese Medicine practitoners would definitely avoid implementing herbal medicine that thins or moves the blood.  

Where Do I Go From Here?

 Having a thorough diagnosis with a Samsara practitioner will help you get to the underlying or root cause of your headaches and migraines. You may even be referred to a couple of different practitioners within our team to manage your condition, especially if multiple issues are occuring with muscles, joints and internal factors, or it has been a chronic or ongoing problem. At Samsara the needs of our clients come first. We will place you in with a practitioner that best suits your condition and needs.

Each modality has a different perspective of how headaches and migraines arise and how they can be managed. Getting to know which practitioner and modality resonates with you will be a great start to getting you on the right track when it comes to managing your migraines and headaches; session that can be helpful are: Myotherapy, Remedial Massages, Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture, Kinesiology Chiropractic, Bowen Therapy or Hypnotherapy (especially if trigger with stress).