Ailments of Spring: Sciatica, Neck Pain, and Headaches

While sciatica, neck pain, and one-sided headaches certainly occur throughout the year, the transition between winter and spring often see an increase in the frequency and/or severity of these symptoms.  Spring time, the season associated with the Wood element, governs the smooth, agile movement of both our joints and our qi (or life force).  Symptoms related to the Wood element are most prone to aggravation in the springtime.

The Gall Bladder Channel, pictured above, governs the joints.  A yang channel, it’s healthy function is expressed in flexible yet stable joints which allow agility and precision in our movements.  Think of how trees need flexibility in order not to be broken by strong winds (often seen in spring) while also requiring great stability to remain upright and rooted.

Our minds and spirits require this same flexibility and stability needed by our bodies.  The Gall Bladder Channel has more points on the head than any other channel and is strongly associated with decision-making and planning. Gall Bladder qi is in service to the power or qi of Liver qi which supports our long-term goals and aspirations.  Together, the Gall Bladder and Liver qi express the Wood element, keeping us connected to our spiritual and mental vision, hopes and goals.  While the Liver focuses on the long-term goals, always way out in the distance; its’ partner, the Gall Bladder, allows us to make plans and take action on a daily basis.  (While our Liver qi may see us becoming a successful practitioner in a given profession, our Gall Bladder qi figures out where to go to school, how to pay tuition, etc…)  No wonder weak Gall Bladder qi, often aggravated by windy climates in the spring, can give rise to headaches.

The first point on the Gall Bladder Channel, whose name can be translated from Chinese as “Eyes Bright” is located at the lateral corner of each eye.  The health of our eyes and our vision relies on the strength of Liver qi.  It is easy to see how the Wood element is essential to our vision, not only physical, but also mental (the use of imagination, our ability to navigate our way to a location many miles away, etc).  Our spiritual vision is understood in Five Element theory as our power of creativity, allowing us to see and create solutions and new possibilities.