In the 21st century, leading an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle is the most problematic concern for everyone. Our increased pressure at work and inactive lifestyle have led to serious health complications. According to a WHO report, physical inactivity and an unhealthy diet contribute to an estimated two million deaths each year and is the leading cause of life-threatening diseases and disabilities worldwide.
While stress, fear, worry, sadness, exhaustion and numbness are normal and predictable, emotional responses to a health crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be ignored. According to The Indian Psychiatric Society, during the early stages of the pandemic, there was a 20% increase in cases of depression and anxiety resulting from fear. Anxiety not only causes headaches but other significant ailments, including high blood pressure, insomnia, postural back pain, sciatica, breathing problems caused by smoking, and increased alcohol levels. A clinical study showed that 58% of people with stress and anxiety benefited from homeopathic treatment. I always believe in an integrated medical approach and homeopathy works in preventive routines and lifestyle management. It takes into account not only the symptoms present, but also the psychosocial aspects of the patient. Therefore, we believe in not only providing patients with medicine for their symptoms and ailments, but also in ensuring that their health-related quality of life improves.
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Symptoms of anxiety neurosis are familiar: sudden, uncontrollable panic and anxiety attacks during stressful times such as an interview or an important meeting. Accompanying them are weakness, sweating, palpitations, nausea and vomiting. The emotional distress is so great that patients often think they are suffering from a severe physical illness, and an anxiety attack can be misinterpreted as a thyroid metabolism imbalance or heart disease. This would be wrong. Anxiety neurosis is a purely psychosomatic disorder, generally affecting immature personalities with many repressed conflicts and instabilities.
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Proper homeopathic care will depend on the organ or site where the neurosis occurs. Aethusa 200 will help relieve confusion during interviews and is good for “exam funk”; Argentum Nit is useful in anxious, restless and impatient people. Argentum’s personality is always in a hurry. These people will go around waiting their turn outside the clinic. Elsemium is useful in cases of anxiety with dizziness, drowsiness and tremor of the limbs. Kali Phos 6x is a good nerve calmer, and even if it is taken for a long time, by an individual suffering from nerve disorders, there are no side effects. Pulsatilla helps tense, anxious and moody types suffering from anxiety neurosis. Taken 10-12 drops three times a day, Scutellaria calms the nerves. The general use of sedatives for a long time causes a general depressive state with tremors.
First, a headache is not a disease, but only a symptom. The brain itself is incapable of any sensation; but the brain lining carries pressure-sensitive nerve fibers. Causes can range from a brain tumor to meningitis, trauma or head injury, and high or low blood pressure. We deal with headaches that plague a highly stressed person at work who we assume does not have any of the diseases listed above. It is the lifestyle itself that causes these headaches. Overeating and gastric imbalance give rise to what are known as biliary headaches. Such headaches, which are associated with nausea and stomach upset, respond well to Iris Versicolor. Constipation is often blamed for causing headaches. Blockage of impacted stool is believed to cause the toxins to be absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in headaches. There may be no substance in this theory, because those who fast also suffer from headaches. Also, the headache “disappears” too soon after passing stool to be anything but psychosomatic. However, the so-called starvation headache caused by an empty stomach usually responds well to sulfur.
Headaches can also be caused by lack of sleep, which is primarily the problem of executives in communications sectors, such as movies, advertising and journalism. These people find that even long hours of sleep do not refresh them and they wake up all knotted and with a throbbing headache. Nux Vomica is the doctor’s prescription here.
Long working hours in poorly ventilated offices cause headaches, as do some types of occupations. The latter is mainly found when it is necessary to maintain a fixed posture throughout the working day, for example by data entry personnel. A neck muscle twists or stiffens – and a headache ensues as blood circulation is impaired.
Migraines, the perfectionist’s malaise, are severe headaches of a chronic nature and affect about 10 percent of our population. Nausea, vomiting, and visual disturbances lasting from a few hours to several days are the usual accompanying symptoms. Studies done at the Mayo Clinic have shown that migraines occur five times more frequently in patients with hypertension. The specific cause appears to be once again the disruption of blood flow. Of the many medications used for migraines, I found Lac Defloratum the most useful. Other medications are Menispermum (migraine associated with restlessness and dreams); Niccolum (prepared from metallic nickel, periodic migraines in weak, nervous and intelligent patients); Onosmodium (left-sided headache associated with eye strain and weakness). Interestingly, a study of migraine patients indicated that the typical personality of this disease is intensely ambitious and success-oriented and capable of achieving a great deal in a short amount of time, pushing itself to near superhuman efforts.
But suggest to a patient that he may be suffering from a tension headache and that the likely response is to laugh and say, “What? Me, tense?” Tension has become so entangled in the fabric of our daily life that it seems unable to recognize it. People accept tension at work and at home, and even children take it home from school.
I once had a patient who complained of a headache all over his scalp. She had endured him for over a year and found him insensitive to drug therapy and dietary changes. His past? His father was a social worker who, however, did not practice what he preached. At home he was a taciturn tyrant, who rarely spoke to his wife and paid little attention to the sensibilities of his family. The interrogation revealed that my patient was an extraordinarily sensitive and emotionally insecure individual on top of that. I concluded that his headache originated in his subconscious. Sure enough, a few months later, he married a sweet and loving girl and moved out of his house oppressing him. The headaches are gone.
Homeopathy recognizes both conscious and subconscious tension as factors that cause headaches: Acid Phos, (due to mental effort); Coffea, (for those originating from mental arousal); Ignatia, (due to the pain); Nux Vomica, (due to anger).
Most workers accept headaches as part of the daily tension in the office and fight them with pain relievers. But all headaches cannot be taken lightly and treated at home. A more sinister class of headache arises from organic diseases. Of these, brain tumor as a cause of headaches has been overestimated by fiction and film writers. In fact, only one percent of all headaches are due to this cause. A good way to tell if a tumor is at work is to look for the following symptoms: bouts of vomiting, lack of vision, limb weakness, and mental confusion. If these exist, see a doctor immediately for an intensive check-up.
High or low blood pressure, often an executive specialty, also leads to a throbbing headache in the temples (in case of high blood pressure) and a dull, general headache, with a lethargic, depressed feeling and mental depression (in case of low blood pressure). When pain is a consequence of a head injury, Arnica is indicated (lack of concentration, insomnia and irritability). If the injury is old but the headache is persistent, Natrum Sulph is the choice. However, just to be safe, check your teeth and ears first, just in case your headache is the result of a focal infection here. If the culprit is eye strain, due to poor vision or excessive reading, Ruta G. offers relief.
Sinusitis is inflammation in the protective spaces of the skull. It is very common and associated headaches occur and recur periodically, usually accompanied by local tenderness in the breast areas.
Arsenic Alb helps when there is thin, watery discharge, with excessive sneezing offering no relief. If the case is chronic, constitutional remedies must be sought. Sinus headache, which is worse in the sun and is associated with profuse secretion, needs Natrum Mur. When the discharges are hurtful and the sinuses start to become septic, Pyrogenium is helpful. When the headache is sinister, think of Spigelia. For the sinuses of the right side it is commonly indicated Sanguinaria.
When the headache radiates from the back of the neck to the head, shoulders, and arms, it is associated with dizziness and possibly fainting, take an x-ray. If it shows that the space between two of the spinal vertebrae has decreased, then your headache is the result of cervical spondylosis. It is caused by a sudden jerk, carrying heavy weights, and bone diseases such as osteoporosis. A few simple remedies and the most intense pain disappears.
Yet people resort to traction, diathermy, and wear dog collars around their necks in an effort to gain temporary respite. Rhus Tox, which acts on muscle tissue, and Calcarea Flour 6x and Mag Phos 6x, which relieve muscle spasm, help reduce pain. Other drugs used are Cocculus (cervical spondylosis associated with vertigo); Hypericum (associated with neuralgia); Laburnum (stiff neck, tearing pain from the nape to the occiput associated with dizziness and nausea); and Lachnanthes (extreme neck stiffness).
Along with medications, a few simple homemade exercises for a few minutes can be of great help.
1. Slowly rotate your neck from side to side.
2. Rotate the neck clockwise and counterclockwise.
3. Lie on your abdomen by folding your hands behind your back and lifting your head.
4. Fold your hands and lift your shoulders up and down gradually.
5. In case of severe pain, rotate the shoulder on the affected side clockwise and counterclockwise.
6. For moderate pain, rotate both shoulders together.
(Dr. Batra has a chain of homeopathic clinics and has just launched a book, Homeopathy: Simple Remedies for Everyone)