Dr. Peter Swanz, ND, FHNAP

Headaches have the ability to ruin a day for people of all ages. The discomfort from a headache is often unmatched by other pathologies. Headaches can materialize out of the blue and persist for hours or days. The pain can at times be disorientating. Individuals may get nauseous and have sensitivities to environmental influences that make being conscious a miserable experience. People desire immediate relief when confronted with a headache. For individuals that deal with headaches, pharmaceutical medications and pain relievers are often assumed to be the only option. A Naturopathic approach for headaches strives to address the underlying issue that is causing the discomfort. In addition to looking at the elemental cause, Naturopathic physicians may consider various homeopathic remedies to address the pain from a headache. Here are a few of the most common remedies to consider for a headache. I hope nobody needs them soon.


My head starts to ache just writing about a Bryonia headache. They are intensely painful with a bursting, splitting sensation. Bryonia headaches are worse with motion, even moving the eyes to look around or a slight breeze blowing the hair can exacerbate the pain. Like other Bryonia pains, it may be better with hard pressure. The individual may want to squeeze or have someone else squeeze the head to ameliorate the discomfort. Bryonia headaches can often come on in the morning when opening the eyes. Think of Bryonia for the splitting morning headache that is better with pressure.


The Apis headache tends to have fullness or congestion sensation, although it may start with a stabbing, stinging pain. Apis symptoms are made worse by heat and generally better by cold applications. The Apis headache is no exception. A cold washcloth may be desired and provide relief of the discomfort of the Apis headache.


A Cocculus headache feels as though the skull may burst open. The pain is often localized in the occipital region and through the back of the neck. An interesting symptom with this headache is that the individual may feel worse after a nap, although resting without sleep may help. The pain can also be so intense that there is nausea, possibly progressing to vomiting. An individual needing Cocculus for their headache may have developed the pain after a prolonged exertion or strain, for instance staying up all night traveling, taking care of a sick loved one, or even working on a school or business proposal.


A wrote about Glonoinum in relation to excess sun exposure in a previous article. That is a key component of the Glonoinum headache. It most often comes on after extreme sun exposure or heat stroke. The head is pounding and throbbing and feels as if it may just break apart. The arteries in the neck leading up into the skull may feel as if they are throbbing and every pulse is distinct. Remember, if someone is dealing with this level of extreme sun exposure, please seek immediate medical attention.

Num Vomica

The final headache I want to share is the Nux Vomica headache. This is a typical result of excess – excess alcohol and food are the main culprits. Individuals needing Nux Vomica are often chilly. They are also almost always worse from sensory impressions, so loud noises and bright lights make the headaches more intense. A Nux Vomica individual just wants to be left alone, often lying in bed, and sleep it off.

There are over 750 potential head pain remedies listed in the Synthesis Repertory, so these few I shared are by no means exhaustive of the options for headaches. If you try one or two at home and don’t notice any improvement, please seek the support of a Naturopathic Physician to help you first get to the underlying cause of your head pain and secondly to help you find a reliable support when you are suffering from a headache at home.

Thanks so much. ~Dr. Swanz

Swanz_headshot_revisedDr. Peter Swanz received his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine Degree from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ.

Dr. Swanz was awarded the prestigious Daphne Blayden award for his commitment to Naturopathic Medicine,  Academic Excellence, Compassion, Perseverance, a Loving Sense of Humor and a Positive, Supportive Outlook by his colleagues and staff at SCNM.

He is a Board Certified Naturopathic Physician with advanced training in classical homeopathy and nutrition. Dr. Swanz is a Fellow of the Homeopathic Association of the Naturopathic Physicians. He currently supports individuals on the journey to health through his Vital Force Naturopathy practice, integrating the best of his conventional and holistic medical training. Dr. Swanz specializes in homeopathy, pediatrics and family medicine.  He is passionate about healing and is driven by the desire to see all people be the most healthy individual they can be.


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