Headaches Part 9: Blood Stagnation or Blood Stasis

IV. Blood Stagnation or Blood Stasis

This pattern often develops from the above “Qi Stagnation” pattern, but usually the key symptom is that the headache pain is fixed in one location, and usually, but not always, sharp like a knife, or at least very intense in nature (8 or more on a scale of 1 to 10). It can also be described as boring, like a hot poker or needle. These types of headaches are almost always chronic in nature, meaning they have been going on for a long time (months to more likely years), and often begin with symptoms in the category of Qi Stagnation, or overlap with it. Cluster headaches (extreme intensity, coming in “clusters” of time, and usually one sided) are often in this pattern, but can also evolve from Liver Yang Rising or Liver Fire. It can also develop from an old trauma or head injury, fall, or other accident, often that the person is no longer aware of.
1) Headache pain can be anywhere in the head, and is often described as a knife or a nail being driven into the head, intense and severe in nature, almost always occurring in the same spot. The headache is chronic, or lasting months or years. The hallmark symptom is that the pain is fixed in location.
2) Pain tends to be worse at night or with little activity, like sitting all day, and better with movement, mild exercise like walking, or any activity that makes the blood circulate.
3) For women, their periods are often very painful and the menses has clots, or is dark, dark red, or purplish in color. The pain tends to subside after the clots have passed or the period is nearing the end.
4) If the blood stagnation is in the whole body, there may be fixed sharp pain in other locations, especially the abdomen and chest.
5) Varicose veins, or the appearance of small purple vessels on the surface of the skin anywhere on the body.
6) Purpura, petechia or other purple or dark red blotches on the skin.
7) Purple or darker than normal lips.
8) An abnormally dark or dull complexion
9) Purple nails or nail bed
10) Abdominal or other masses in the body that do not move, they tend to be in a fixed location.
11) A general aversion to pressure or massage of a painful area, including the head, neck, or abdomen.
12) Disorders of the blood, especially coagulation disorders including Vitamin K deficiency, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, claudication of the legs, especially the vascular type, atherosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease, disseminated intravascular coagulation, hemostasis, and others.
13) A purple or purple hued tongue. The blood vessels under the tongue are often enlarged and dark blue or purple in color. There may be only a small dark, red, or purple spot on the tongue, especially the tip of the tongue.
14) The classic pulse is tense or tight, choppy, and generally feels constrained.

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