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The Stress Headache

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This is the headache you get in the back of the neck. The pain runs along those tendons at the sides and back of the neck. It’s usually the worst at the top of the neck where it joins the head, but, it can run all the way down into the shoulders as well. Many people get this kind of headache after working too hard and long at their desk or maybe when driving for a while. Stressful situations will also bring on headaches like this. Elevated blood pressure can also bring on this type of headache. If blood pressure is high or these headaches occur frequently, contact your physician or healthcare professional before attempting to treat yourself.

The underlying internal reason for these headaches is often associated with the Liver. There are many things that can irritate the Liver. Emotional and mental stress will tend to disrupt the normal function of the Liver. Various foods such as fatty and spicy ones can disturb the Liver as well.

The normal function of the Liver in Chinese Medicine is to spread Qi (energy) smoothly and evenly to all parts of the body. It is also the Liver’s function to clean the blood and to store excess blood until it is needed. When the Liver is disturbed, it can become warm and blood and Qi begin to stagnate. As the Liver gets hotter, it disrupts the organs around it. One of the easiest organs for it to invade is the Gall Bladder. In Chinese Medicine, the Gall Bladder is paired with the Liver in a Yin/Yang relationship. The Liver is the Yin organ and the Gall Bladder is the Yang organ.

When the Liver heat invades the Gall Bladder, it disrupts the Qi of the Gall Bladder itself as well as the Qi in the Gall Bladder Meridian (Acupuncture channel.) It so happens that the Gall Bladder Meridian runs thru the shoulders and up along those tendons on the sides of the neck and onto the head. It is the disruption of the Qi in these channels and the subsequent irritation and inflammation of the surrounding tissue that causes the pain.

Treatment by massage of the painful areas of the neck and shoulders can help as can Acupuncture. Herbal treatment for this type of headache includes herbs that cool and soothe the Liver and promote the smooth flow of Qi. Products such as Xiao Yao Wan are specifically for this purpose and perform the job well. Xiao Yao Wan will also help to lower high blood pressure and assist with the better handling of stress. As the Liver returns to normal, the Gall Bladder and its channel will return to normal and the pain, etc. then subsides.

Ed Reinhard
Golden Light Herbs 

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