Acupuncture for Migraines May Be The Best Natural Treatment for Your Headaches
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.
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, this neurological disease affects nearly 39 million Americans. Here are seven reasons why you should consider getting acupuncture for your migraine headache.
What Are The Migraine Causes and Symptoms?
Migraine attack is classified as a primary headache, and it is a neurological disorder. Whether you have chronic headaches or the worst migraines 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 headache or migraine.
In the U.S, more than 39 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. According to the Oct 28, 2009 report of the British Medical Journal, migraine is associated with a two-fold higher risk of ischemic stroke among people who have migraine with aura.4
Seven Reasons to Get Acupuncture for Migraines
Because modern medicine doesn’t completely understand this neurological phenomenon, the typical treatment is somewhat hit or miss. One way to seek relief is by reaching for drugs and other medications. Unfortunately, common medications do not address the root causes and can cause unwanted side effects when used over long periods of time. Common side effects of medications are sleepiness and fatigue, racing heartbeat, nausea, difficulty thinking, and trouble functioning.
There is an alternative migraine treatment, and this alternative is acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Because TCM treatment is customized to the individual’s conditions, it can do much more than just relieve pain. Here are seven reasons why you should consider getting acupuncture:
Acupuncture has been proven to relieve migraine pain. This is the number one reason why people seek acupuncture. Thousands of studies have shown acupuncture treatments can effectively relieve and reduce pain for acute and chronic pain. When acupuncture is combined with chiropractic care, the results can be instant and even longer lasting.
Acupuncture reduces inflammation. While migraines are not completely understood, it is agreed upon by most professionals any headache involves some sort of inflammatory response by the body. Acupuncture promotes the release of vascular and immune-mediating factors that actually decrease inflammation.
Acupuncture can reduce serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical the body produces. Many scientists and neurologists believe serotonin may be linked to triggering migraines. Because acupuncture can be used for preventive medicine, it can also help to balance serotonin levels on a long-term basis. Thus you may have less frequent migraine attacks.
Acupuncture can help with the symptoms of migraines. Acupuncture can treat not only pain but also the symptoms of migraines. Studies have shown symptoms like nausea, dizziness and vomiting can all be reduced with regular treatments.
Acupuncture improves blood circulation. When you experience pain, it is because of a lack of proper blood flow and decreased oxygen. This is as true for migraines as any other type of pain. Acupuncture can improve blood circulation, which also increases the amount of oxygen that reaches the tissues.
Acupuncture Provides Fast Pain 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.
HOW TO GET RID OF MIGRAINE
How Does Acupuncture Work for Migraine?
Acupuncture can directly regulate our hormones and neurotransmitters. It balances the sympathetic nervous system and promotes the production of endorphins, our bodies’ own painkillers. Moreover, there are no adverse side effects.
Acupuncture Provides Fast Pain Relief for Acute and Chronic Headaches
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture take a whole-body approach to health. 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. There are many factors in 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. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner will also attempt to determine what root causes are contributing to the symptoms. By identifying and treating the underlying causes, not just the symptoms, your acupuncturist can apply the most effective acupuncture care for migraine relief.
Clinical Researches: Acupuncture Offers Headache Relief Over Medication
In 2008 Duke University sent a press release that stated, “Acupuncture is more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches, according to a new analysis conducted by Duke University Medical Center researchers.”
A 2016 study published by the Cochrane Review concluded acupuncture treatments could 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
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. Stagnation of Qi may be the cause of your headaches.
During acupuncture treatment for migraines, in order to restore the balance and flow of Qi, your acupuncturist will insert fine sterile needles at specific acupuncture 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 migraine or headache 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
Chiropractic adjustment reduces nerve irritation. A cause of migraine headache can be from spinal bones in the neck. If spinal bones are not moving right, this can affect nerves, muscles and blood flow to your head. Our chiropractor locates this problematic area properly and restores proper spinal movement by delivering gentle chiropractic adjustments to help normalize spinal function, reduce nerve irritation, and improve blood circulation to head. 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 Headache Relief
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 everyday.
In conclusion, acupuncture and chiropractic care are extremely effective in reducing the frequency and severity of headache or migraine. 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 patterns. 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 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 migraines, retinal migraines will affect only one eye, not both. But the loss of vision in one eye may be caused by some other more serious condition. So if you experience vision 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.
- Migraine and cardiovascular disease: systematic review and meta-analysis, BMJ 2009;339:b3914