Do Strong Headaches Caused By Digestive Problems?

Do Strong Headaches Caused By Digestive Problems?

Do Strong Headaches Caused By Digestive Problems?

Can Digestive Problems cause Headaches?
Can Digestive Problems cause Headaches?

Do you believe that Headaches Caused By Digestive Problems?

  • Do you have headaches every day? 
  • How about constipation, diarrhea, bloating, or gas?  

You might think these symptoms are not related to each other, yet they are.  

This article is for those suffering from headaches every day and who might have the cause of digestive problems like constipation or diarrhea. 

Headaches can be coming from the autonomic nervous system imbalance

Headaches can be coming from the autonomic nervous system imbalance
Headaches can be coming from the autonomic nervous system imbalance

In our human body, there are 206 bones, 600 muscles, 900 ligaments, 4,000 tendons. 

And, approximately over 7 trillion nerves are connected.  

One of the nervous systems is called the autonomic nervous system.  

What is the autonomic nervous system? 

The Autonomic Nervous system can be divided into the Sympathetic nervous system, also known as fight or flight response.

The parasympathetic nervous system is also known as the rest and digest response.  

It is involuntary control of the body tissues, so you can’t control it. 

It arises from the central nervous system, which is our brain and spinal cord.  

What are the functions of the autonomic nervous system? 

First of all, sympathetic nerves and parasympathetic nerves arise from the spinal cord segments.  

The sympathetic nervous system prepares for activity.  

  • Provide more glucose
  • Increases the heart rate
  • Dilates the pupils
  • Prevents activities for digestive systems

On the other hand, the parasympathetic nervous system conserves body energy.

  • Increase gut motility
  • Stimulate digestion
  • Slow down the heart rate

A lot of parasympathetic nerves arise from the brainstem and the spine.  

The Vagus Nerve is one of the major parasympathetic nerves.  

Headaches Caused By Digestive Problems due to vagus nerve
The Vagus Nerve is one of the major parasympathetic nerves.  

It ritually targets most organs and tissues and carries information like pain, temperature from the throat, inner and outer ear, and near the back of the head.  

It also receives information from the internal organ in the neck, chest, and abdomen.

And, it controls muscles in the throat that function for speaking and swallowing.  

  • Tightening the airways
  • Slowing down the heart rate
  • Stimulates digestion
  • Dilate intestinal blood flow

Thus, vagus nerves are easily affected by digestion or stress.  

For example, when you are stressed out, anxious, or depressed, your vagus nerves get irritated, causing digestive problems such as stomach upset, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, or gas. 

How Headaches Caused By Digestive Problems? 

As I said, the vagus nerve carries 75% of parasympathetic nervous function. 

It travels from our brainstem to the intestines, including other organs and glands.  

The Vagus nerve runs right behind the Sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) and right in front of the scalenes muscles in the neck.  

In addition, the spinal accessory nerve also goes to the SCM and upper trap muscles.  Once it is irritated, it can cause muscle tightness.

Neck muscle tightness which is irritated by vagus nerves, causes headaches because a pinched nerve occurs when a nerve is irritated or compressed by the tightness of the neck.   

Traditional Chinese Medicine for Headaches Caused By Digestive Problems

Traditional Chinese Medicine for Headaches
Traditional Chinese Medicine for Headaches

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, the digestive system and headaches are highly related because the stomach meridian starts from the eyes and goes through the head and the digestive systems.

the stomach meridian starts from the eyes and goes through the head and the digestive systems

Pain is called stagnation of Qi (energy) and blood in the meridian and the channel. 

When you have bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea, it affects the meridian that goes to your neck and head. 

Blockage of the meridian also radiates to the head causing tension headaches.

The left side of the neck stiffness mostly indicates the digestion system because the spleen and stomach are located on the left side. 

The pain on the left side of the neck is a sign that your digestion system is unbalanced or not working well. 

That is why in TCM, we check your neck if you have bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea together. 

How to treat Headaches from Stomach Problems?

Now, I would recommend you do these five things at home to get rid of the headaches.

  1. Acupuncture point
  2. Meditation
  3. Heat Pack
  4. Diet
  5. Chinese herbs

Acupuncture point for Headaches

PC6 is the acupuncture point for balancing the nervous systems
PC6 is the acupuncture point for balancing the nervous systems

PC6

Firstly, there is an acupuncture point called PC6.  This point works to regulate autonomic nervous systems and helps the digestive systems at the same time.

It is located 2 inches away from the palmer side of the wrist and finds the most tender spot. 

Let’s press on the area for 20 seconds 3 times every day.  

Meditation

Meditation helps soothing Stress
Meditation helps soothing Stress

Secondly, The Autonomic Nervous system controls heart rate, blood pressure, and the mental response to stress.

Meditation helps our mind rest and reduces the feeling of anxiety.

Why don’t you meditate 20 minutes before going to bed?

Visit Calm.com, meditation.com to guide you on how to meditate.

Heat Pack on the neck for Headaches

Heat improves blood flow to unblock the meridians for pain
Heat improves blood flow to unblock the meridians for pain

Thirdly, to get rid of headaches naturally, I recommend you put a heat pack on your neck.

Heat regulates circulation and releases the tension of the muscles.

And, there is a microwavable heat pack that covers the base area of the head and shoulder muscle.

You can put it on the microwave, heat it, and put it on your neck and shoulder for 20 minutes each time.

Do it 3 – 4 times a day if you want.

Change your diet

Healthy diet is a key to have a good digestion
Healthy diet is a key to have a good digestion

Fourthly, eating well is one of the best remedies to become healthy.

Eating greasy, fried food and drinking dairy milk makes your stomach upset more. 

They are not accessible on your stomach.  

  • Eat more vegetables
  • Avoid eating spicy food
  • Avoid eating greasy fried food
  • Avoid drinking dairy products like cow milk
  • Eat more fermented food like tofu, miso, etc

Please make sure if you have bowel movements every day and stool suppose to be not too soft and hard. 

Bloating and gassy stomach is another sign of indigestion.  

Thus, make sure to be aware of your body’s signs.  

Chinese Herb for Headaches Caused By Digestive Problems

Taking natural Chinese herbal medicine supports reducing pain in the head and digestive problems
Taking natural Chinese herbal medicine supports reducing pain in the head and digestive problems

Finally, taking natural Chinese herbal medicine supports reducing pain in the head and digestive problems at the same time.

Chai Hu Gui Zhi Tang

This formula treats digestive problems like constipation or diarrhea with muscle tension, especially neck, shoulder, and upper back, accompanied by headaches.  

It mainly contains Bupleurum root, Pueraria root, and cinnamon twig.  

  • Bupleurum root is a Chinese plant root and is famous for headaches and muscle tension.  
  • Pueraria root is also known as kudzu that releases muscle tightness and headaches.  
  • Cinnamon twig warms the channels and meridians for pain. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the vagus nerves and neck tension can cause bothersome headaches accompanied by digestive problems.

  • Autonomic Nervous Systems (Vagus nerves)
  • Neck tension

Firstly, understand the mechanism of the autonomic nervous systems.

Secondly, please try these remedies at home to see if your headaches go away.

Finally, I hope it helps those who are suffering from headaches from digestive problems.

{Recommended article to read together}

Please feel welcome to comment if you have any questions about this post.

Sayonara till next post.

About Author: Satoru Ozawa – Doctor of Oriental Medicine, an acupuncturist, and a Chinese herb specialist.

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Did You Know What’s The Chinese Medicine For Headache?

Chinese Medicine for Headache

Did You Know What’s The Chinese Medicine For Headache?

Headaches are one of the most annoying disorders of all time for American people. 

In America, 45 million Americans are suffering from headaches each year.

One in every six people of the population has had headaches in the United States.  

Here, I would like to talk about the mechanisms of headaches and kinds of headaches and how to treat Chinese medicine remedies such as by using acupuncture points and Chinese medicines like kudzu tea.  

Western Perspective of Headaches

You need to identify several different headaches, such as sinus headaches, cluster headaches, tension headaches, and migraines.

  • Sinus headaches – headaches in the behind the eyebrow and cheekbone.
  • Cluster headaches – located in and around one eye.
  • Tension headaches – one of the most common headaches, which is like a band squeezing the head.
  • Migraine – usually in one side of the head and may cause nausea and visual changes.

Chinese medicine perspective of Headache

On the other hand, in TCM, we differentiate headaches into different types

location

  • Yang Ming Headache – pain in the frontal head and forehead
  • Shao Yang Headache – temporal head
  • Jue Yin Headache – top of the head
  • Tai Yang Headache – pain from the base of the neck to the back of the head
  • Tai Yin Headache – pain that wraps around the head
  • Shao Yin Headache – pain like pushing the brain up with a spear from below
Location of the headache from Chinese Medicine perspective
Location of the headache from TCM perspective

Headache Types in Chinese Medicine

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are different causes of headaches, such as external pathogens like wind-cold or wind-heat, or stress, or digestive problems. 

These causes stiffen the muscle around the head and neck cause headaches.  

Acute Headaches

  • External pathogens like cold, dampness, heat, and wind attack your body because of low immune systems.

Chronic Headaches

  • Qi deficiency headache – a headache because you have low Qi (Energy).  This headache is associated with fatigue, low appetite, and pale faces.  
  • Blood deficiency headache – this headache happens because you have a lack of blood in your system.  This type of headache gives you sharp pain in the head and pale skin.  
  • Phlegm-dampness headache – this type of headache is associated with heartburn and nausea or vomiting.  
  • Liver fire headache – When you are raged or angry, your headache is triggered.  
  • Food stagnation headache – Headache after eating. It is associated with burping and yawning.  

What can We do with Chinese Medicine for Headache?

In Traditional Chinese medicine, there are two main treatments, such as Acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy.

Acupuncture & moxibustion

Acupuncture & moxibustion is a therapy that helps the patient to flow Qi and energy smoothly and removes the pathogens that cause the disease.

The human body has multiple pathways called meridians that run through Qi and blood. In a healthy body, Qi and blood flow continuously.

But, When the paths are obstructed or stagnated, a person gets sick.

Liver and Gall Bladder meridians connect to head and other organs in Chinese Medicine
Liver and Gall Bladder meridians connect to head and other organs

Chinese Medicine for Headache (Herbs)

Chinese herbal medicine (Kampo) combines multiple herbal medications such as plants and minerals in nature in principle.

It has been confirmed that herbal medicines are combined to obtain what kind of effect and whether they are harmful to bodies, and it has been systematized as a Kampo prescription.

Herbal medicine is the process of plant leaves, flowers, buds, stems, branches, roots, fungi, minerals, insects, and other substances that have been considered adequate over a long time into easy-to-use convenient storage and transportation.

Chinese herbal medicine is a remedy that is used by mixing them. The characteristic of Chinese herbal medicine is the combined effect of Chinese herbs.

4 tips from Chinese Medicine for Headache

Heat Pack on the Neck

1. Releasing the neck muscle is one of the essential things that you need to make sure of because the neck muscle and the headaches are highly related.

From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, stress, poor digestion, and side effects can stiffen the neck muscle and headaches.

It is because the meridians and channels go through from the internal organs and neck to the head.

So, if you have poor digestion, for example, you will get (Qi) energy stagnation in the meridians and eventually cause headaches.

Press on the acupuncture points

2. Stimulate Acupuncture points – Acupuncture points work when you stimulate the points. 

Each point has different functions for headaches.  

  1. San Jiao 3 – press the tender spot 2 inches above the dorsal side of the wrist.  This point is excellent for releasing the SCM muscle and temporal headaches (Tai Yang headaches)  
  2. Liver 3 – press the tender spot in between Big toe and 2nd toe.  You can press and find the most tender place.  This point is good for the back of the head (Tai Yang headaches), especially on the right side (Liver side).     
  3. Stomach 43 – press the tender spot in between the 3rd and 4th toes.  You can also press and find the most tender place.  This point is good for sinus headaches (Yang Ming headaches).  
  4. Large Intestine 4 – press the tender spot in between the thumb and 2nd finder.  You can find and push the most tender place.  This point is suitable for a tension headache (Tai Yin Headache).  
Acupuncture Points for Headaches
Acupuncture Points for Headaches

Natural Chinese Herbal Remedies

3. Take natural Chinese herbal remedies – each Chinese herb has a different function and action. 

For example, Kudzu is arrowroot and has a great benefit to treat headaches. 

In Japan, arrowroot tea is a trendy tea to warm your body, release muscle tension and release headaches.  

The primary making method of Kudzu arrowroot tea is simple and easy as follows,

  1. Dissolve kudzu powder (10g) in water (100cc), then filter the mixture through a tea strainer
  2. Heat the liquid in a small pot, stirring gently, until it becomes transparent (or translucent) and viscous.
  3. Add your desired amount of sugar (honey or syrup) to the pot and mix well
  4. Pour the liquid into a cup
  5. Enjoy! 
Kudzu Tea - one of the most popular Chinese medicine tea in Japan for Headache
Kudzu Tea

Stay Hydrated

4.  On top of this, drinking enough water is also very important. Dehydration can cause tension headaches because your brain gets pressure from the loss of fluids.

So, please make sure to drink enough water but not too much water.

  1. Drink a cup of plain hot water in the morning right after waking up.
  2. Drink one between 3 pm to 5 pm
  3. 0.3~0.5 gallon should be enough
  4. Avoid ice-cold water

Try these tips to relieve headaches, and it is effortless to try them at home. 

{Recommended article to read together}

Please feel welcome to comment if you have any questions about this post.

Sayonara till next post.

About Author: Satoru Ozawa – Doctor of Oriental Medicine, an acupuncturist, and a Chinese herb specialist.

Continue Reading