Intracranial hypertension occurs as a result of increased pressure around the brain. It results in headache, nausea and vomiting. Sometimes there may be severe visual disturbance, which in extreme cases can include blindness.
There are two types of intracranial hypertension. One where the cause is known such as an adverse reaction to medication. The other, where the cause is unknown.
It affects more women than men and can sometimes be mistakenly diagnosed as a migraine.
An MRI can be done to rule out a tumour causing the headache. Sometimes surgery is used to relieve the pressure.
Acupuncture has been shown to help with many pain conditions and has been used for many centuries with symptoms described as, “My head feels as if it will explode“.
A head trauma can cause intracranial hypertension
One of the causes of intracranial hypertension can be a head injury and in fact the US Veterans Administration covers the acupuncture costs for veterans with this condition.
Has there been any research on acupuncture for intracranial hypertension?
This problem only effects one in one hundred thousand people and hence research funds for acupuncture for intracranial hypertension are usually by passed in favour of research for more common ailments. However, researchers did find that a specific temperature distribution around the yin tang acupuncture point was related to the degree of severity of intracranial hypertension syndrome. The acupuncture point known as yin tang is commonly used to treat all types of headache, including migraines.
What acupuncture points could be selected to treat intracranial hypertension?
Scott Pearson of the Newtown Acupuncture Centre, opposite Wellington Hospital sees many patients with pain conditions. We ask him how he would treat intracranial hypertension with acupuncture. “With cases of this nature I am very careful to make sure the patient has a conventional medical diagnosis and life threatening conditions have been ruled out or are being treated appropriately. It is then important to consider the cause of the condition from a traditional Chinese medical perspective. Based on this and the exact location of the pain I will choose the points. Often these will be on the hands and feet. I normally expect an immediate improvement, if only temporarily.”
Can Chinese herbs help intracranial hypertension?
Kevin Lu, a well known Chinese herbalist practicing in Sydney’s Chinatown prefers to use Chinese herbs for intracranial hypertension. One of his strategies is to use gentle diuretics that do not harm the yin fluids to release the dampness obstructed in the head. Damp is how TCM describes a form of pathological accumulation in the body, including even fat. He points out that studies have shown that obesity in women increases the likelihood of suffering from intracranial hypertension and relates this back to the TCM concept of “damp obstruction”.