Occipital pain according to Chinese Medicine

occipital stiffness and occiput pain redirect here

Occipital pain can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like occipital pain here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here occipital pain is often associated with aversion to cold, fever and body aches in the pattern “Damp-Wind”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of occipital pain we’ve identified five herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat occipital pain.

Damp-Wind, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause occipital pain

In Chinese Medicine occipital pain is a symptom for the pattern "Damp-Wind". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

Notopterygium Roots (Qiang Huo) is the king ingredient for Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang, a formula used for Damp-Wind

Damp-Wind

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Floating (Fu)

In addition to occipital pain, other symptoms associated with Damp-Wind include aversion to cold, fever and body aches.

Damp-Wind is often treated with Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Notopterygium Roots - Qiang Huo - as a key herb). Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dispel wind-damp", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Expels wind and dampness".

Read more about Damp-Wind here

Five herbal formulas that might help with occipital pain

Xiao Feng San

Source date: 1617 AD

Number of ingredients: 13 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Wind. Eliminates Dampness. Clears Heat. Cools the Blood.

Why might Xiao Feng San help with occipital pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Wind' of which occipital stiffness is a symptom.

Read more about Xiao Feng San here

Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang

Source date: 1247 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Expels wind and dampness.

Why might Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang help with occipital pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Wind' of which occipital stiffness is a symptom.

Read more about Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang here

Jiu Wei Qiang Huo Tang

Source date: 1308 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Induces sweating . Dispels Dampness. Expels Wind-Cold. Clears Interior Heat .

Why might Jiu Wei Qiang Huo Tang help with occipital pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Wind' of which occipital stiffness is a symptom.

Read more about Jiu Wei Qiang Huo Tang here

Cang Er Zi San

Source date: 1253

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Wind. Relieves pain. Unblocks the nose.

Why might Cang Er Zi San help with occipital pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Wind' of which occipital stiffness is a symptom.

Read more about Cang Er Zi San here

Ku Shen Tang

Source date: 1806 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Dispels Wind. Dries Dampness. Kills parasites. Relieves itching.

Why might Ku Shen Tang help with occipital pain?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Wind' of which occipital stiffness is a symptom.

Read more about Ku Shen Tang here

Acupuncture points used for occipital pain

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat occipital pain

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with occipital pain?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat occipital pain as a symptom, like Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang or Sang Ju Yin for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Angelica Root (Bai Zhi) help with occipital pain?

Because Angelica Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat occipital pain as a symptom, like Hai Tong Pi Tang or Cang Er Zi San for instance.

Angelica Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Wind. Disperses Wind and Cold from the Yang Brightness channels. Relieves Wind-Damp Cold painful obstruction. Dries Dampness and pus and reduces swelling. Opens the nasal passages.

Read more about Angelica Roots here

Why might Wild Mint (Bo He) help with occipital pain?

Because Wild Mint is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat occipital pain as a symptom, like Sang Ju Yin or Cang Er Zi San for instance.

Wild Mint is a Cool herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Wind-Heat. Clears Wind-Heat from the head, eyes and throat. Allows the release of toxins from the skin. Moves Stagnant Liver Qi

Read more about Wild Mint here

Why might Saposhnikovia Root (Fang Feng) help with occipital pain?

Because Saposhnikovia Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat occipital pain as a symptom, like Jing Fang Bai Du San or Xiao Feng San for instance.

Saposhnikovia Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Bladder, the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Relieves Wind-Damp-Cold painful obstruction. Disperses Wind.

Read more about Saposhnikovia Roots here

Why might Szechuan Lovage Root (Chuan Xiong) help with occipital pain?

Because Szechuan Lovage Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat occipital pain as a symptom, like Jing Fang Bai Du San or Qiang Huo Sheng Shi Tang for instance.

Szechuan Lovage Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Gallbladder, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches.

Read more about Szechuan Lovage Roots here