Acupuncture Treatment for Headaches and Migraines
In general, the harder a medical problem is to treat, the more treatment strategies exist. This observation is certainly true for headaches and migraines. Patients and physicians are constantly looking for alternatives to drug therapy, which is effective in the short term but may have severe unwanted effects in the long term. This is a topic that hits close to home for me, I suffer from cluster headaches and control it with acupuncture and meditation. It has reduced my pain and discomfort immensely over the years. Lots of times, in addition to treatments like acupuncture, it’s recommended you educate yourself about headaches and migraines and how to identify and manage your triggers; modifying your lifestyle where needed.
Now you may be asking yourself, how does acupuncture work? Acupuncture seeks to restore the flow of positive energy throughout your body while removing negative energy that is causing you pain. From a modern medical perspective, acupuncture stimulates various systems of your body, triggering a healing response.
Acupuncture divides your body into a series of zones and pressure points. Acupuncture needles are inserted into different pressure points, depending on your symptoms. These needle points are usually near nerves in your body. The needle stimulates the nerves to release hormones, such as endorphins, that trigger a response from your body. This immune and circulation system stimulation is what relieves migraines and tension headaches.
Recently, a study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine said acupuncture may be helpful in reducing the frequency of migraines and preventing attacks. Researchers in China found that properly administered acupuncture therapy may reduce the frequency of the most common types of migraines. The research, which builds on a body of knowledge from smaller studies, looked at how true acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture in reducing migraine attacks and symptoms in those who have been battling the condition for at least a year. All treatments were administered by trained and licensed acupuncturists who trained for at least five years and had four or more years of clinical experience. Recipients of ‘true acupuncture’ were treated in four acupoints chosen by clinical experts. The four points used for the ‘sham’ group were chosen to avoid migraine relief.
Twenty weeks after receiving treatment at five times a week, patients in the true acupuncture group saw a reduction in the average number of migraines from 4.8 per month to 3 per month, with no adverse events reported requiring “special medical intervention.”
Using acupuncture along with meditation and other lifestyle changes is a great way to reduce the frequency and severity of these painful episodes. Headaches and migraines strike without warning but having a plan of treatment in place can go a long way towards solving the problem, without having to rely on pharmaceutical interventions.