Functional medicine, in contrast to pharmaceutical medicine, is medicine designed to optimize the function of the body and systems, such as the digestive, reproductive, musculo-skeletal, and circulatory systems, rather than to merely mask symptoms. Drug therapies address a headache a motrin deficiency, for example, while functional medicine will seek to find the cause - perhaps trigger points from muscle tension or hormone imbalance - and address it.
As in Classical Chinese Medicine, often the underlyling cause of a headache is long term unrelenting stress leading to a breakdown of the digestive system interfering with digestion and absorption of nutrients. Stress also can lead to constricted circulation and chemical changes that hamper exchange of nutrients at the cellular level as well. Muscle tension causing trigger points and referred pain originate in muscle constriction due to stress, which cannot resolve if ciruclation is compromised and nutrients are lacking, such as magnesium which balances calcium in relaxing muscles In such a case, addressing the cause will be a multipronged approach engaging nutritional as well as mechanical therapies to remedy the situation.