Acupuncture for Migraines: Treatment & Care
Golden Acupuncture and Chiropractic provides effective, natural treatment that is clinically proven for fast relief and long-term prevention for migraines and headaches in Northern Virginia and Washington DC Metropolitan areas.
If you suffer from headaches or migraines, you are not alone. Over 50 million of us experience some form of a severe headache at some point in our lives. One way to seek relief is by reaching for drugs and other medications. Unfortunately, common medications do not address the root cause(s) and can cause unwanted side effects when used over long periods of time.
Our TCM migraine specialist provides a safe and effective approach to relieving headache and migraine pain, without causing harmful side effects.
Understanding Migraines | Headaches
In the U.S, more than 38 million people suffer from migraines. Ninety-one percent (91%) of migraine sufferers miss work or can’t function normally during migraine attacks, and 59 percent missed family or social events.1 Whether you experience minor head pain or severe migraines can take valuable time out of your day and your life, and leave you searching for relief.
Migraine attack is classified as a primary headache, and it is a neurological disorder. Whether you have a chronic headache or the worst migraine associated with neurological symptoms, including light and noise intolerance, pain behind eye, nausea, vomiting, depression, and irritation, the cause may be associated with a structural issue. When the nerves in the neck are irritated or compressed, they send disturbing sensory messages to the brain. This disturbed or heighten the sensitivity of the nervous system can lead directly to acute headaches or migraines.
There are many factors in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory that may play a key role in the root cause of head pain. They are body constitution, emotional health, excessive work, social and exercise activities, improper diet, dehydration, physical trauma, and hormones. Headaches can also be diagnosed according to specific symptoms, times of occurrence, location on the body, type of pain, triggers and remedies which provide relief.
- Have you tried medications and found that your symptoms keep coming back?
- Are you experiencing side effects from your medicines?
- Have you almost given up hope because of the poor outcome of many treatment options?
- Fast Relief – Yes. There is an effective, natural treatment that is clinically proven to provide fast relief and long-term prevention.
- Leading National and International Health Organizations recognize acupuncture to be effective in the treatment of headaches.
Acupuncture for Migraines and Headaches
Acupuncture and TCM takes a whole-body approach to health. A 2016 study published by the Cochrane Review concluded acupuncture treatments can relieve the pain associated with headaches. Acupuncture treatment can help to control or prevent migraines before they happen. Out of the 22 trials conducted, considerable evidence was shown that in addition to prophylactic drugs, acupuncture should be highly considered for migraine treatment and prevention.2
Traditional acupuncture specialist will take a detailed health history and perform a physical exam to determine how and why your Qi (vital energy) is out of balance and identify what type of headache you are experiencing. Traditional Chinese Medicine specialists will also attempt to determine what root cause(s) are contributing to the symptoms. By identifying and treating the underlying cause(s), not just the symptoms, your acupuncturist can apply the most effective acupuncture care for migraine relief.
Acupuncture should be highly considered for migraine treatment and prevention.3
What Do You Mean My Qi Is Out of Balance?
An important part of acupuncture and TCM is the concept of Qi. Qi (pronounced “chee”) is the vital energy that animates the body and protects it from illness. It flows through pathways called meridians and provides nourishment to all the body’s organs. When there is an imbalance or blockage in the flow of Qi, physical symptoms may result. Qi stagnation may be the cause of your headaches.
During acupuncture treatment for migraine, in order to restore the balance and flow of Qi, your acupuncturist will insert fine sterile needles at specific points along the meridian pathways. Based on your unique symptoms, your acupuncturist will choose to concentrate on acupuncture points related to specific organs. Afterwards, your acupuncturist may prescribe a variety of self-care techniques further expedite your healing process.
It is important to remember that acupuncture for migraines or headaches is not a quick fix. Changes may occur quickly or over a longer period of time, depending upon your overall constitution and health. It is also important to closely follow the care recommendations suggested by your acupuncturist. Whether it is one visit to address an acute problem, or several visits to address a chronic problem, Our migraine acupuncture specialist will create a treatment protocol for your migraine headache symptom that will maximize your healing potential.
Chiropractic Care for Headaches
Our Fairfax chiropractor has extensive understanding of subtle issues occurring in the spine and the nervous system, which is very often the source of pain. The clinical important improvement was observed in the 8-week course study: chiropractic was 57% more effective in the reduction of headaches than drug therapy.2
In order to find possible causes, our chiropractor will perform a thorough evaluation and examine your spine for issues of misalignment. Using gentle and non-invasive techniques, our experienced chiropractic migraine doctor is able to correct the spinal misalignment (subluxation). This can provide relief and restore your long-term health.
Home Remedies for Headaches
Below are a few ways that you can participate in your own healing, by making simple lifestyle changes that may help soothe or even prevent head pain.
- Track Those Triggers: Try to keep track of when your head pain starts. Headache sufferers may find it especially helpful to keep a diary of symptoms and possible causes. Triggers might include anything from eating chocolate, to anxiety or inhaling specific smells. Pinpointing these triggers—and avoiding them when possible—could help.
- Stress Relief: Stress puts a lot of strain on the body, and can contribute to many types of health concerns. Talk to your practitioner about healthy ways to handle stress, such as meditation or breathing techniques.
- Exercise: Physical activity is an important part of any healthy lifestyle and is a great antidote to stress.
- Healthy Habits: Making minor changes can make a big difference in your overall health and vitality. Do your best to eat healthy, organic foods, and make sure to get enough sleep every day.
When To Go To The Emergency Department for Headache
If you experience a sudden severe different headache with new symptoms such as a fever, weakness, double vision, or confusion, you should visit the ER for proper evaluation. You want to make sure there are no serious life-threatening medical problems.
Many patients going to an ER doctor for severe headaches or migraines, however, do not get lasting results from the medications given in the ER. Therefore it is very important to have a good long-term plan and relationship with a neurologist or acupuncture specialist who treats migraine disorders.
In conclusion, acupuncture and chiropractic care are extremely effective in reducing the frequency and severity of headache or migraine pain. By working with our practitioner, you will be on your way toward a healthier, happier, pain-free life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Headaches cause pain in the head, face, or upper neck. Headaches can vary in frequency and intensity while migraines are extremely painful primary headache disorders with symptoms including nausea or vomiting, visual disturbances, sensitivity to light, sound, or smells that are more intense and debilitating than headaches. Some types of migraines may not cause head pain.
Rest and massage neck and scalp areas. Follow regular sleep pattern. Stay hydrated. Avoid food triggers like chocolate, caffeine, MSG, and processed foods, to see if it affects your migraines. Have a treatment plan: over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and non-pharmaceutical treatments such as acupuncture or chiropractic care.
Aura is a series of sensory disturbances that happen shortly before a migraine attack. These disturbances range from seeing flashes, bright spots, and zig-zag lines to tingling on one side of the face & body, or inability to speak clearly. Aura usually lasts 10-30 minutes. It may not occur during every migraine attack.
Ocular migraine sometimes is sometimes called retinal migraine. A retinal migraine is a rare condition with symptoms of repeated bouts of short-lasting, diminished eyesight or blindness. These visual disturbances occur with or without headache. Unlike aura migraine, retinal migraine will affect only one eye, not both. But loss of vision in one eye may be caused by some other more serious condition. So if you experience visual loss in one eye, see a doctor right away for prompt treatment.
- Otesa,Miles. Migraines and family history. Migraine.com, Nov 2010. [Link]
- Nelson, C. F., Bronfort, G., Evans, R., Boline, P., Goldsmith, C., & Anderson, A. V. The efficacy of spinal manipulation, amitriptyline and the combination of both therapies for the prophylaxis of migraine headache. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 1998 Oct: 21(8), 511-9.
- “Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine,” The Cochrane Review, published June 28, 2016.