Have You Tried Acupuncture for Your Headaches or Migraines?
From Mild Discomfort to Debilitating Misery…
We’ve all had headaches from time to time. Maybe yours are just a dull tightness and ache that you can mostly ignore, or possibly you get a severe pounding headache that needs medication or rest to alleviate. Some people get regular migraines that are often accompanied by sensitivity to light, sensitivity to loud noises plus nausea and/or vomiting. These can last for hours or days and can be totally debilitating. Whatever the severity and frequency of your headaches it’s easy to see how they can reduce your productivity at home and work, and the impact they have on your energy, mood, and general well-being.
Headaches and migraines can be part of your body’s response to stress, poor posture, incorrect lifting techniques, dehydration, mineral imbalance, and overall lack of movement and exercise. They are often exacerbated by spending many hours a day in front of a computer. For some women, migraines can be the result of regular hormonal surges within their monthly cycle, something they regularly have to anticipate and plan around. Whatever the cause, anyone who experiences regular headaches or migraines will know how important it is to have an effective way of treating them.
So How Can I Shorten My Suffering Without Drugs…
There are 2 simple home remedies that can prevent or alleviate headaches when incorporated into your lifestyle: hydration and stretching. Make sure that you are drinking enough water to flush out toxins, and stand up and stretch for a few minutes every hour while working on the computer to release tension.
A course of acupuncture treatments is also a viable drug-free alternative treatment for migraine and headaches especially for pregnant women, and those that prefer to be pharmaceutical-free*. Regular acupuncture sessions can help to reduce the frequency and duration of migraines and headaches**. A study shows that the effects of acupuncture can last for at least 12 months after the series of acupuncture treatments has been completed***. As these studies indicate regular acupuncture sessions can effectively reduce the the frequency and duration of your headaches and migraines.
*McDonald J. & Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised edition). Brisbane: Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd; 2017. http://www.acupuncture.org.au.**Steiner TJ, Stovner LJ, Birbeck GL. Migraine: the seventh disabler. J Headache Pain. 2013 Jan 10;14:1.***Grissa MH, et al, Acupuncture vs intravenous morphine in the management of acute pain in the ED, Am J Emerg Med (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajem.2016.07.028
Headaches and Migraines and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture can be very effective in treating headaches and migraines. For example, acupuncture can often relieve the pain within minutes.
Within TCM, a headache has two parts, the cause and also the symptoms. The headache itself may only be a symptom, caused by a problem in another part of the body. This is because the head depends on other parts of the body to be functioning well.
When internal or external factors interfere with the flow of energy to and from the head, restrict the flow of blood or disturb the nutrient supply to the head, headaches will occur. TCM recognises these imbalances, which may include disharmony of the liver system, kidney deficiency or poor energy flow.
The first thing to recognise is that the causes and the symptoms of headaches can be very different. A proper diagnosis needs to address the imbalances and disturbances of the entire body. The treatment then needs to be tailored specifically for each individual.
The TCM approach to relieving a headache or migraine focuses on the whole body. A combination of TCM therapies may be used.
1) Acupuncture is the most common treatment. Acupuncture does no harm, is deeply relaxing and stimulates the self healing of the body. Weekly visits may be required to steadily reduce the number and the intensity of the headaches.
2) Chinese herbal medicine is typically used in conjunction with acupuncture to reduce the pain and frequency of headaches, and naturally balance the body.
3) The hectic pace of modern life can be a reason for headaches. Reducing stress, anxiety and tension is an important part of healing this condition. Regular physical exercise, calming activities, a therapeutic massage and rest can be helpful techniques.
4) Dietary therapy is important in TCM. Food is considered to be a part of the medicine which can benefit the overall health. An individual diet plan may involve reducing fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine or sugar to improve the symptoms. Drinking more water daily will reduce dehydration.
6) TCM is drug free. For example, overuse of the common painkiller paracetamol/tylenol is toxic and damages the liver function. TCM is a safer alternative.
Eloise is 32 years old. For several years she experienced 2 episodes of migraine every month linked to her menstrual cycle. These usually lasted for 3-4 days. She has been admitted to hospital several times due to the severity and duration of her migraines, and dehydration as a result of the vomiting. She came to us 6 months ago for treatment and since having regular acupuncture sessions at different intervals to coincide with different hormonal surges during her menstrual cycle, her migraines have reduced in intensity and only last 1-2 days each time. While there is no guarantee of the results we are both hopeful that with continuing treatment her migraines will continue to diminish in severity.
Sally is 28 years old. When she was 16 weeks pregnant she started getting daily headaches which were severe enough to affect her work, as well as her general sense of happiness and energy. Since she was pregnant, she could not take any medication for her headaches and decided to try acupuncture. After starting regular acupuncture treatments, her headaches have reduced in intensity and she now only endures one headache every month.
With the right combination of these treatments and a strong commitment to their improved health, most people will respond well to the Chinese medical treatment of headaches and migraines.
Disclaimer: TCM has been around for over 5000 years. However, we cannot guarantee your results as they may vary depending on your actual condition and treatment plan.