V. Cold Stagnation (in the Liver)
This is an uncommon cause of headache, but if you fit the pattern, it is easy to identify. It is caused by a pathogenic internal cold in the Liver channel or meridian. It is often caused by being exposed to external cold, as in cold weather, and especially being submerged in cold water. It can affect people who swim in cold water, or those that have to work in conditions which repeatedly expose them to cold temperatures.
1) The headache is at the top of the head, or a vertex headache. This is the hallmark symptom of this pattern. This shouldn’t be confused with a headache that starts at the base of the head and goes up to the top. This pattern is isolated on top of the head. It is usually a dull pain and differs from a Liver Yang Rising headache which is sharper in quality and may also be on top of the head. It is often an intense headache, and sometimes alleviated by warming up the body or lying down, and generally aggravated by cold, internal or external.
2) There is generally a feeling of cold in the body.
3) There is a desire for constant sleep
4) There is a cold feeling, pain, or fullness in the abdomen. This pain is often radiating to the external genital organs, especially the scrotum or testes in men. The testicular pain is described as a “bearing down”, expanding, or bursting sensation, and often with swelling, coldness, or contraction of the scrotum. It should be alleviated by warmth and aggravated by cold.
5) Hernia, especially abdominal, including hiatal and inguinal hernias.
6) Vomiting is common in this pattern, and it is often after eating. It may only be retching or spitting up of saliva or mucus, especially after eating cold or raw food.
7) Contraction of the tendons, cramping, or spasm which is usually alleviated by warmth and aggravated by cold.
8) For women, this can manifest as painful menstruation (dysmenorrheal) or infertility, with a lowered basal body temperature, or a small change in basal body temperature in the two different phases of menstruation; similar to the symptom discussed earlier under the pattern of “Kidney Yang Deficiency”. To differentiate between this pattern and Kidney Yang Deficiency, you must decide whether there is an external source of cold which has gotten inside the body, like in this pattern, or just a metabolic weakness of creating heat internally, as in the Kidney Yang Deficiency pattern.
9) Infertility is often caused by this pattern.
10) Constant nasal drip can be caused from this pattern
11) The classic tongue is a pale or bluish-pale body, with a slippery, white coating
12) The classic pulse is deep and wiry, or slow.