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Cluster headache

My partner has cluster headache. It would take too much space to describe the problem, but see it as an excruciating kind of migraine that comes in attacks (it is no migraine though and cures for migraine don't always help on cluster). During his last cycle I have tried to treat him homeopathicly, with varying success. Sometimes I could stop the attacks for 3 days, but never permanently.

Question: is there anyone here who has read about homeopathic remedies that fit cluster headache? Or treated cluster headache patients? I know only one: Sanguinaria, but that doesn't fit him. See, I can never find in the repertory the main symptom: headache in time-limited attacks of 1,5 to 3 hours, and outside the attack clear from headache. Which remedy would fit on that?

Some help hints tips would be mostly appreciated!
  HannahFroukje on 2004-07-08
This is just a forum. Assume posts are not from medical professionals.
I was treated for cluster headaches / migraine - often the headaches don't fit in one category. I was given several remedies during a period of 10 years, and they did all help. Simply because the reason for developing the headache was different each time, and my constitutional remedy was different. I allways look at MIND symptoms, even if the ailment is physical. So maybe you could ask: do you remember your first attack? What happenend in your life then? Then you can use CAUSE and EMOTIONAL REACTION PATTERN to find your remedy. Sankaran and Vithoulcas often work this way as well. I find it works wonders ... it did for me! I was prescribed Ignatia, Lycopodium, Staphisagria and now for years I am a healthy Argentum Nitricum. Mind you, I am talking about a 10 year period! And although headaches will allways be my weak spot, the attacks have diminished tremendously. Good luck!
Gepka last decade
P.s. are you Dutch?
Gepka last decade
Firstly, it is not about myself, but about my partner (not that this makes the problem very different ;-). So you know about cluster headaches eh? Not lucky!!!!!

We have been trying to find the causa, but in his case it is very difficult. First he was treated by another homeopath, with some result, but later I treated him myself. Unfortunately I only have been able to find short-working remedies. The cause is difficult, because in his life he has had MANY injuries, MANY infections, and other stuff, and they all cause headaches with him: "normal" headaches, migraines, tension headaches, even clusterheadaches, and neuralgia's. It's difficult to say what ever came first, and what is the real causa.

It could be a virus infection (I tried nosodes too, and tuberculinum gave some effect, but again temporarily). Calcium carbonicum worked short, Gelsemium the longest. He has had an accident and after that he developed cluster headaches, but to my feeling the accident is not the real causa, because before he had migraines, and they seem to be an expression of the same problem. Neveertheless, we tried Arnica and Natrium Sulpuricum, Arnica had a astonishing but short effect, Nat.sulph nothing.

Difficult case if you ask me.

Lucky for you, you were able to find long-term constitutional remedies.

I thought of Lycopodium and Argentum Nitricum for my partner too, I tried the first, but not the latter yet.

PS yes I'm Dutch ;-)
HannahFroukje last decade
if the migraine turned into cluster headche after an accident, you might be right - it could be one and the same underlying problem, just that the accident made it worse.... nevertheless, i would have thought of hypericum instead of arnica, as i think, hyp is working deeper, and works for all kinds of injuries, where nerve tissue is involved, spinal concussion, nerve iritation - which often leads into muscular tension and easily then causes headaches. maybe studying hyp could be f value for you?

The other thing is, you said, you can't find "headche for a limited time period" in the rep. I don't think, this would be the key-symptom. lots of headaches are just of a short time.
what you should use, if you are jutst going by one symptom (headache) is a FULL SYMPTOM. Means, it has to have modalities, cause and sensation and concomittant symptoms.
hheadache for a short period is no symptom to prescribe on at all. it's a particular symptom and of almost no value.
Headache better from cucumbers. or worse from lying down or accompanied by burning in soles... these are the symptoms to look out for. what makes your husbands headsche different than other people's headache?? What makes it worse, what brings it on. With 2 or 3 peculiar signs, you might be able to figure out the right remedy. might... watch him.. ask about evey movement or position he takes on, and ask why he does so. watch his face. is he wrinkling his forehead.... doeas he keep his hands close to the head... ask him what he thinks, if he can think.... in headaches it's often not a good idea, either, to have he similimum given, because the aggrevation might be mean, you give the sim. (when you found it) between the attcks and an acute remedy during the attack. often this is bry or nat-m in acute attacks, but that of course might not match you husbands case
what else is involved? digestive tract? nose and sinuses? muscular tension? eye sight? there are some remedies you can almost for certain rule out, once you figured out, which "class" of headache it is.
good luck!
itsme last decade
I agree fully with "itsme", but I keep stressing: look for emotional symptoms as well. To give you an idea: Ask for an event in his life that was important for him, that worried him. Let him talk about it, ask questions to find what triggers him. Nat M is usually triggered by emotional grief, like lost love, whereas Caust. can be completely thrown by a Newscast about killed whales on tv... Nat M will not talk about it, finding it difficult, but Ignatia has no such compunctions, and speaks openly of the heartache. arg nit is often more worried beforehand than afterwards (oh, just imagine this or that happening, how will I deal with it? I will never make it...)
That is the sort of thing you're looking for. I don't mean "play the psychologist"!It is not easy, but it can give you the clue that eludes you just looking at the physical side. Do you have the Desktop Guide? They often give some nice concise descriptions of the emotional side of a remedy. AND the Mat Medica by Vithoulcas, that is a great one. Tot horens!
Gepka last decade
Thanks both for thinking along with me so far. I appreciate it.

One of the troubles I went through trying to repertorize cluster headache is that the pathology itsself is very peculiar, so you could be tempted to repertorize these symptoms because of that. This would not lead you to the similium ofcourse. ALL or almost all clusterheadache patients have these excruciating pains, coming on rapidly in attacks of 30 minutes up to 3 hours. They all have stabbing pressing pain (though not all the pain is described similarly) behind or in the eye, on the top of the head, down the neck. They all pace and moan from the pain, can't sleep, the pain wakes them up from sleep and responds to nothing. They all have a peculiar blockage in the nose, snot drippig out, an enlarged eye. They all have it on just one side (seldom both, seldom changing sides).

A bit more personal is to what the pain reacts, but a LOT of CH-patients find that their pain reacts to applying cold (some hot however), taking a hot shower. It is hard to find something personal in such a case when these "normal" symptoms are so evident and "jumping you in the face". Also aggrivation of the pain is very common by onions, by smell, by sound, by noise ... so what to go on???

On the other hand, I think I SHOULD try and look for a remedy that has not only headache in the picture, but more this particular form (no need it to be headache) but pain in spells, coming up quickly, and fading away quickly, this "attack"like pain that feels as if a beast jumps on them and shreds them to pieces (they all call it "the beast"). It might be a symptom to all, but to me it is still a valuable difference to other "headaches". Sometimes it comes closer to epileptics then to headaches. I hope you understand what I mean. I seem to be unable to find remedies that have that "attacklike" pain in their picture. It is NOT a normal headache, and I feel as if it could hardly be compared with headache, but technically ofcourse, it is.

Then about the remedies. Other homeopaths and me tried a lot of remedies on him, most of them without success. I will try to dig them up from my memory and add a score, perhaps you would find this interesting. Score of 10% means 1 day without attacks, 30% means 3 days (I can only say how remedies score by looking at the acute picture, more about the chronic picture later). ALL remedies he got failed to act a second time, exept tuberculinum.

Because of the cause he got:
Arnica 30%
Hypericum 10%
Natrium Sulph 0%

Because of the neuralgic nature he got:
Spigelia - (!!!) 40% (which means, headaches came up and made his life miserable for over 3 days, terrible agonizing pain and didn't get less, we antidoted that.

Because of the fact that it has something to do with the balance of the body he got:
Magnesium Phosphoricum 5%
Phosphorus 0%
Some more mineral remedies that all helped temporarily
Sulphur made the picture change dramatically: a big abcess woke up in his jaw, but still headache. I went on with Calc.Carb, and that stopped it for 30% (3 days).

Because of the headache picture he got
Gelsemium 30%
Natrium Mur 0%
Tuberculinum 30% - 20% - 10 % and diminishing.
China (difficult to say but didn't stop the headaches)

Apis stopped one attack, as did other remedies.

I didn't forget to look at the mind picture. But I find it difficult to tell the really personal symptoms apart from the not valuable ones, because the latter are so apparent. He gets depressed (but who would not when in such agonizing pain). He gets numb (logical). He has no appetite (logical). He can't sleep (who could ...). I can't find something really peculiar. Perhaps the most peculiar things is that he shrugs his shoulders and acts as if it's forgotten already when an attack passes. He has no fear of the fear, he sits quietly behind his computer, and when the attack comes on, only THEN he starts worrying. It's like he is unable to see in the future. And therefor he doesn't take any action on preventing the headache or trying to do something that might make it better. So he's definately not like Arg.Nitr (but Gelsemium who has a bit of that too, helped him quite long ... ???).

Apart from that it's terrifying and terrible, it's a very interesting case too, I've spent nights with the materia medica on my lap looking for a matching psychological picture, but could not find one.

What perhaps suits him best, and does have an effect on his head too, is Selenium. This remedy has his tired view on work, his attitude of "nothing will do any good", they way Scholten describes it. But I'm not sure if this will prevent the headache from coming back. I didn't try this in an acute phase.

For the rest, I've been lazy and chased his depression of with a single dose of Serotoninum. Not permanently though.

I would appreciate it when we could discuss this a bit more, I appreciate the tips on how to look for the best remedy.

So thanks and bedankt!
HannahFroukje last decade
I do not have my Mat Med with me, but have you tried Belladonna? The way you describe the attacks, they flare, he goes crazy... it is just an idea.
I will be back later...
Gepka last decade
... I am back.
It is an interesting case, I agree. Something caught my attention: between the attacks he acts as if nothings the matter, and does nothing to try and prevent them. But also you mention that he has an attitude "nothing will ever do any good". Gelsemium has that, in a sort of hopeless, chagrined way. They are the moaning type, usually. I hear from your description that your friend doesn't seam to care when he is not in pain.
I will look into Selenium too when I get home.
I just wonder what kind of character he has? Is he an optimist (when not suffering...) or does he tend to see problems everywhere? How does he deal with problems in general? What kind of things matter most to him: personal, business, money, career, familylife? What kind of activities does he like? A sort of general picture. Thanks and succes...
Gepka last decade
nothing will ever do any good.... ars has that too, in ars you will find great restlessness.....

that's not why i am writing:
did he ever get his spine x-rayed? in some bad cases of headaches that can't be fixed, the vertebras in the neck are to blame on it. most often it is the atlas (te first one). some practiniors will look at the x-ray and think it's normal, as the vertebras are all aligned, but when they would take the time to really look, they might figure , the vertebra is not out of alignment, but ROTATED !
for years - this can bring up sudden attacks and very often! probably only a chiropractor can fix it - i am not sure about honeopathy.... you have to give the vertebra a 'kick'... a 'whack'... something that makes it move back and then strengthen the muscles, so it won't turn back...
itsme last decade
Thanks for trying to advice.

Yes, I have tried Belladonna, but only in the acute case and a low potency. Didn't notice anything. I tried Aconitum too, because he's a strong sturdy man. No effect.

I am not sure myself WHAT to treat, should I look at the acute symptoms or look at the chronical situation. Because you're dealing with something chronical, with acute outbursts. And the patient is of a totally different behaviour because of the pain.

Gelsemium gave a 3 day total relief on the acute attacks. However after 3 days the attacks came back. Ofcourse I gave Gelsemium again, no effect. Higher potency, no effect. This is what I'm puzzled about.

The character: no he is not an optimist. More the depressive masochistic type. He feels guilty, but will not admit that. Instead he looks for other things or people to bear the guilt, he shoves it off to situations. He says "I feel depressed because ...." and will never say "I feel depressed because that's the way I feel about live". See what I mean? He is not afraid, almost never, at least he will not admitt it and he will push it so far away that he doesn't feel it too. Arsenic doesn't seem to be matching, he is not precise and he's not anxious exept when he's having this pain, and I guess someone else would feel much MORE anxious and scared then with the same pain. Even in his pain, he tries to endure it and tries to stay relaxed, tries to breath through it and shuts everything else out to be able to coop with it.

The things that matter most to him is work and money and what goes wrong there (he's had Bryonia too by the way). This is what brings me to selenium in the first place, because this is what he talks about , about his work, how it went wrong, that nobody gave him a chance to do it right and that now it's all gone and useless. He doesn't like ANY activities, now there's an easy question ;-)).

In a way Sulphur matches him, because he's sloppy and doesn't care a bit about his presentation. But he misses some typical features of Sulphur. He doesn't have the philosophical attitutude. He's absolutely NOT philosophical or theorising. He tried sulphur 1M and it made things lots worse. Sulphur D6 however cleared the picture up a bit but it didn't relieve the attacks.

About the spine X-ray. Yes, he 's had that done, and had treatment for it, but in his case, the vertebrae are grown together in some places, so that can't be fixed anymore. The treatment didn't help for cluster headache. He's had a severe car crash, and probably scarr tissue inside his head.

As a child he 's had several heavy injuries, and a very bad infection, that took 3 months to recover, unfortunately I don't know WHAT.

Does this information give someone a clue? It's a bit complicated for me.
HannahFroukje last decade
... I don't have much time today, but I wanted to ask: have you considered Nux Vomica? I do suggest treating him on a chronical basis: the attacks are off course very acute, but they keep coming back, so that's chronical. Nux has migraines and headaches, and a strong ambition on the work front... maybe you can check it out. And don't let yourself be thrown by the sometimes not very "kind" description of Nux V! As you know there are always two sides to the coin!
Tell me what you think of the idea, if you like?
Gepka last decade
yes, it's absolutely chronic. you have to treat chronical. however, if you didn't find the 'right' remedy and the attacks occur again, then you treat acute, means in the acute case of the (chronic)outburst, you treat by using the acute symptoms , for an acute case, you don't use so much the long existing symptoms.
another thing: careful with sulf (and puls and nat-m and cham, apis and all the other "basics")
as they are so well proofed , the materia medica is full of symptoms. most people would find themselves in sulf or puls or lyc. most people would find themselves in ALL of these well-proofed remedies.
you have to look at black-letter symptoms, leadings or keys.
e.g. sulf has "burning" and "heat" in bold and in italics it has "chuddering" now, this matches almost everybody, besides these few people that are not having a temperature relation at all.

the key in sulf is burning and yes - chill might occure,but you have to look up, WHEN and under which circumstances.
there is lots of stoop shouldered remedies, it's just that sulf is proofed so often, everybody knows about it's stooped shoulders.
sulf's worse position is standing, it is burning not only physical, but also mentally and emotional. in a chronic treatment, you have to make yourself a pretty good picture of the remedy and decide if this REALLY matches the patient.
BOLD really means it's bold in the patient,too. small letters is rarely indicated if the symptom in the patient is very strong.
also with the mentals one easily thinks... yes, that's my patient, especially when you know him very well - as you know your husband.
lyc e.g. is cross in the morning. now you might think, that's your husband, but consider this twice: IS he really cross? or is he just usually still too tired to talk and gets impatient if you talk to him. cross means cross. not kind-of-cross.

i hope for you guys, you find a solution!
itsme last decade
Thanks again for the replies.
Gepka first yours. I've been reading up on Nux V, although I know this remedy (if I would not by now, I should leave school hee hee).

I am hesitant about Nux. Although this subject has need of alcohol, smoking and also a bit of agression, hmmm I wonder if it's the same "need" as Nux Vomica. I would say, Nux Vomica is ambitious, he wants to thrive, get higher up. He's a perfectionist with a high sex drive and high goals. Therefore he wants too much of everything and gets agressive when that doesnt work out.

That sounds different then my "patient"/partner. Yes, he has migraines and headaches, need of alcohol, smoking and even a touch of agression (if provoked when he is tired). But I don't see the same "thrive" as nux has. Or he would be a Nux Vomica who "has lost it all" if you know what I mean. He's neveer HAD that thrive to achieve, although he did work very hard when he was younger and stronger. He's not the managertype eather, he's a production worker, he doesn't like complicated work and he doesn't like to think about things.

Basically I would say, the physical things come pretty close, but I am still a bit doubtfull about the match of the "picture".

I would say I need the tired "working man" brother of "manager " Nux. More or less like Bryonia, but it isn't Bryonia either.
HannahFroukje last decade
And this is the reply for "itsme" (reminds me of another "itsme" I once knew in The Netherlands, but that would be too much of a coincidence ;-).

Thanks for answering how to treat chronical and acute. That clears it up a bit.

YUP I'm very careful with the basics, I am trying and trying to keep a clear view on things but the complicated history makes it tough. This is going on for about 7 or 8 years now.

He's had sulphur MK from another homeopath and I was REALLY reluctant to give it to him, I mean really doubtful, because I know sulphur and he only matches that picture for perhaps 50%. So I would never have given him such a high potency of Sulphur! He took it anyway, and by God, the next attacks were so terrible that I had to call the homeopath in the middle of the night, to ask him for advice (fortunately he left his number). In the background he was screaming so loud that I couldn't hear this man talk, I actually had to go outside with the phone to hear him. He told me how I could antidote it, which I did, and that worked but the terror of that haunted us for days.

He didn't want to touch it again, but in his last cycle, when we were both desperate and "stuck" I persuaded him to take a low potency of Sulphur only once to clear up the picture. So he took 2 globules of D6. Within half an hour he developed a big lump on his jaw, I could actually see it swell, it was pretty scary. The strangest thing was, the headache disappeared temporarily, but this lump - it seemed like an abcess - hurted like hell, so can't say he was really pleased (understatement) though this pain is more bearable than clusterheadache pain.

I went on with Calcarea Carbonica D6, and that took care of the abcess and his head cleared up further and he was relieved of attacks for about 3 days (!!!!). I waited and did nothing. Then the attacks came back gradually. Tried Calcium Carb. ... nothing. Tried Sulphur again. No reaction whatsoever.

After some reading I decided to try and treat him with Calcium Phosphoricum, that gave a slight reaction but it was peanuts, and after some hours this positive effect faded away too.

You get really hopeless when you are a student and facing troubles like this. I wanted to help him SO MUCH, and relieve some of the pain, and when I DID find something, after a while it would just return and go on. I had wished I had found a homeopath who knew how to treat it, but our experience was that it is too difficult to explain the pathology, and you end up taking something that only stirrs it up.

When you read this more precise report about sulphur and this patient, what would be your conclusion of he effect of sulphur?

Why could it be that nothing helped a second time. False remedy, yes, but WHY do so many remedies work (and most of them all mineral remedies in low potencies).

Phosphorus matched the complaint best, while repertorising, but phosphorus did nothing (bummer).
HannahFroukje last decade
This e-mail is for itsme with regard to 2004-07-13 for cluster headaches. You mentioned giving the vertebra a good 'whack' or 'kick'. What would you advise for a good whack that you could do at home? I have been told by an Osteopath and a Chiropractor that I have rotation of my first 2 vertebra. They rotate to my left. My symptoms include Cluster headaches, neck pain, sometimes burning, aching, with movement of the pain around my skull. Do you have any suggestions as to what maybe done at home to help with an adjustment such as you mentioned a 'good whack' of the vertebra for the upper 2? I had 2 car accidents within a 5 month period and am learning how to cope over the last year and a half. Please let me know any advice you can give?
Thank you so much itsme.
kuana1 last decade
I stumbled across this site as I was searching for homeopathic remedies for Cluster Headaches. I found myself in the E.R. last night with one. Although I was grateful to be relieved of my pain and suffering, I was rid with guilt from the thought of the chemicals I had just put into my body as well as my 11 month old son who is breastfeeding. i know this post is old but I was wondering if anyone had new success or information for me. Anyone who has had or seen someone go through a Cluster Headache knows how serious and debilitating it is. I am now taking kali bicrhomicum and it helps if the headache from going full blown if I take it at first sign. However, it doesn't always work and when it does I am still left with a tolerable but annoying headache.

MaternallyWise last decade

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