Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
You’d think 15 years in there might be no surprises.
Perhaps you’ve seen much of what there is to see? And yet, doing this role everyday is different. Every case is different. And it doesn’t matter how many people who get chronic headaches, the chances are many of the homeopathic medicines you prescribe will be different.
Because we are individuals, really it makes sense that we all do things differently. We all experience things differently. And yet our medicine of status quo says that we all get pretty much the same for the same named condition. Headache. Try paracetamol. Not enough? Try ibuprofen. Not working, here’s the next line of meds.
Of course I simplify, but as a chronic headache and migraine sufferer in the past that was largely my experience, and it’s been reported to me plenty of times by clients.
But what to do when those avenues aren’t working. Despite the medications headaches persist.
Fortunately they often don’t do so to the intensity of a recent client I’ve seen, but frequently it’s an issue that many have. Or they wait for the headaches then take the medications. Sensible on the surface, but what if there was something else?
For me homeopathy was that something else, albeit I have seen great results with other things such as probiotics in one case in particular, which massively reduced the frequency of migraines in one teenager.
I write this blog with permission to share insights into one client’s recent experience. Life changing is perhaps a term that is banded around too frequently, but I would wager it wouldn’t be too far to apply it here.
Joanne (not her real name) came to me after we’d met in a different (non homeopathy related) setting online. She was recommended to me by a mutual contact and got in touch to ask if I thought homeopathy may help her with her frequent, pretty much constant, headaches.
I am always excited to see what I can do to help for any client. Feeling unwell, run down or emotionally struggling is not a barrel of laughs and if homeopathy, and I can help in some way, it’s a real privilege. Headaches however were what drew me to homeopathy, and for some reason I have a bit of a thing about them. I’m amazed at how many pills I popped, how many packs of tablets I bought, how much I suffered. And suffer I did, with migraines and sickness as well as copeable with paracetamol and keep going headaches.
That said, my headaches were a breeze compared to what I heard about Joanne’s. Regularly the bad ones would last 3 weeks, frequently result in her having to take a week off work and stay in bed for much of that. She would have to lie incredibly still else the pain would be like thorns around her. When I first met her, she told me she always had a constant headache and that they were getting worse. She was on nortryptaline but didn’t seem to be making a difference. She went nowhere without painkillers and there was anxiety around them – the headaches were affecting so much, stopping her having normal family times. Her daughters might have to look after her if she was ill, and they couldn’t plan for things – there would be a ‘if we can get there’ feeling about things in the future.
It’s incredible really revisting the notes from our first consultation, and seeing the differences that have resulted in a relatively short space of time. We first met at the end of April 2022 and as I write it’s early September 2022. Joanne’s migraines started when she was 18. When I met her she was 51. 33 years of them. So to have made the changes we have in four and a half months, I’m excited to see how much further we can go.
We talked lots about life around the headaches, likes dislikes, mood, personality, work, family, hobbies, sleep, dreams and lots more; and of course about the headaches, when they began, what was happening around that time, what they felt like, what made them better or worse.
The two hours which I allow for my initial consultation, went by fast, as they often do. I worked on the case, and to give an insight into the process, I thought I’d share my final computer repertorisation.
Where it says Combined rubrics, that is two that are put together, that are relevant to the case, are confidential and am not sharing them here.
Generally I’m not a huge fan of small rubrics (the symptom description) but in the case of confirming a remedy, I’m very interested to see if they correlate and confirm the remedy choice. Here they did.
I prescribed Arnica. It’s probably our best known remedy, and circling back to what I said in the beginning, we are likely to give a different remedy for lots of people experiencing the same common dis-ease description. I have never prescribed Arnica for someone with headaches before. I have never given Arnica as a prescription for chronic health issues before. It’s been something I’ve suggested plenty of times – for bruising, for exhaustion, for jet lag, for tired mothers, for post surgery blends. But not ever before for headaches.
When we train, we talk a lot about becoming the unprejudiced observer. We talk about this mostly in terms of sitting with clients, in consultation. It’s something we need to use with a look to remedies too. I could easily have passed over Arnica with a ‘it’s just for bruising’ thought. And that would have been a shame.
We met next in June, and as often happens, Joanne said she’d not noticed a decrease in the headaches and had been feeling quite despondent that there weren’t improvements. I think now there are two types of nothing happened. There are the more common type, where the client returns and says nothing happened, you look at the notes from last time, talk more and realise that actually quite a lot has changed, and the second, less common type where nothing has happened.
Fortunately Joanne was one of the first type. On discussing how things were and now were…
The average headache duration had been decreased by a day. From 1.5 – 2 days to a day less now. Her nerve endings which previously felt raw and exposed, hadn’t had that anywhere near as much. She hadn’t had to take the nasal spray as frequently and the average pain levels which she would measure out of 10 were reduced quite a lot. The day we met it was a 5-5.5/10 and normally on the day after a bad headache (which she’d had the day before) she’d expect an 8. She also hadn’t had to go to bed as often as before, and had been able to function a bit more with the headaches. Nausea was no longer present.
So there were definitely still severe headaches, but the duration of them had reduced, the severity was somewhat down too, and whilst she was still having to go to bed, she noted that before she’d never be able to get back up and have dinner with the family, meet them after school, she’d previously have been doing well to get to the bathroom and back to bed.
What to do? To change remedy or continue or increase the potency of the Arnica?
I went with an increased potency of Arnica repeated at 2 weekly intervals.
We next met early September. Headache wise things were much more positive. She’d stopped thinking about it, she’d not had a day in bed recently.
She reported that the frequency was probably about the same but the severity very different. These were ones that would disappear by taking ibuprofen or a couple of paracetamol. And on frequency, now instead of a constant headache, there might be an average of 2-3 headaches a week. One week she didn’t have one at all. Unheard of for quite some time. She’d had a time where she couldn’t go out without painkillers in her bag, now she told me she’d even been out without a bag let alone the painkillers in there.
Her quality of life had changed massively. The girls’ language had changed from ‘if mum’s OK then we’ll meet you’ to ‘mum, I’m meeting ___ on Thursday’. There had been no sickness.
She described it as a ‘massive improvement that I’d never have thought would have been possible’. The nortryptaline was still being taken so I can’t put it all down to homeopathy, but it was being taken whilst she was having 3 week long, send you to bed for a week headaches too, and constantly had a headache, so I’d like to think that there’s some influence from this alternative angle.
Before she felt the headaches controlled her, now she was able to make plans.
When did she last feel this good I asked. ‘No idea, I really don’t know.’ A long time ago.
Like many sufferers of chronic conditions, she’d resigned herself to the fact that this was her life. She said ‘I never would have dreamt I’d be like I was this summer. I couldn’t see how it could happen. My life was controlled by headaches and just the fact I was able to book a holiday and enjoy every day of that holiday was so amazing.’
Of course we’re not done yet, we’re in the early days, but I’m hopeful it won’t be much longer before I’m telling Joanne that my door is always open should she need to return, and not seeing her for some time.
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.
Em Colley Homeopath
Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy
BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Laughter Yoga Leader
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition