People frequently ask questions about migraines and whether they can use Migraine Acupuncture for migraine pain relief and whether treatment with acupuncture is successful.
Migraine Acupuncture For Migraine Pain Relief
In my experience of treating patients for both migraines and headaches with acupuncture, I can say that I have seen very promising results. The results are not just in my clinic; there are studies that validate Migraine Acupuncture for migraine pain relief in texts such as the British Medical Journal. These have found a decrease in the frequency and degree of attacks after acupuncture.
Types Of Headaches
Headaches in general are a serious problem with as many as 75% of people suffering from recurrent headaches at some point in their life. There are two types of headaches. The first group of headaches such as cluster headaches, migraines, tension headaches or depression headaches are due to a problem in our central nervous system. The second group of headaches are not due to the central nervous system. The likes of hypertension, liver failure, flu or such like cause headaches as a symptom of the main issue.
Are Migraines Sexist?
Migraine headaches tend to strike at a 3:1 ratio of women to men. Over 20% of adult women suffer from migraines. 90% of migraine sufferers have a family history of migraines.
What Is A Migraine?
The Western medical explanation of migraines is that there is a rapid opening of the blood vessels in the head (vasodilation) that leads to the throbbing pain of a migraine. Typical drugs to treat migraines are NSAIDS such as naproxen or ibuprofen. This however usually just reduces the pain without dealing with the cause.
How Are Migraines Experienced?
Each person has a different experience of migraines. Some have visual auras (lines or tunnel vision) prior to an attack while others are sensitive to particular smells. Relief from the pain may be found in a dark quiet room or following sleep. Attacks can occur at work after sitting at a computer for an extended time or unfortunately just before the weekend when work stress eases off.
What Sets Off Migraines?
For men and women, migraines can be set off by outside events such as:
- eating processed meats containing nitrates
- eating chocolate
- drinking alcohol
- seeing lights flash
- experiencing fast air pressure or temperature change
For women specifically, migraines are often linked to their menstrual cycle. Hormone changes that happen during each stage of the cycle can trigger the migraines.
3 Steps To Decrease The Frequency And Duration Of Migraines
Now you know the usual potential external causes of a migraine, you can decrease the frequency, duration and pain of a migraine by carrying out the steps that many others have used successfully:
Step 1 – Keep a diary
Keep a diary of when these potential triggers happen in your life and when you have a migraine.
- Try and establish a link between the two.
- Once you establish that link, you can take control of these outside factors and eliminate the causes of your migraines.
- If you can’t completely eliminate the causes, at least you can be aware of when a migraine is likely to be on its way!
Step 2 – Get Migraine Acupuncture for migraine pain relief
Acupuncture can be very helpful:
- After a full consultation, your acupuncturist will identify the patterns unique to you that are causing your migraines.
- There are a number of potential patterns that can cause migraines, so your acupuncturist will rely on information that you can give them. The more detailed this is the better.
- Typically, your acupuncturist will want to know the location and duration of pain, the time of day, your emotional state prior to the migraine and what you experienced during the attack.
- So, as part of your diary, it would be beneficial to keep a note of these things as well.
- One of the most common causes for migraines in acupuncture terms is the rapid and excessive rise and accumulation of QI (energy) to the head. The reason for this varies from one person to the next.
- The main goal of the acupuncturist is to help this energy flow easily through the whole body and decrease its accumulation in the head.
- This smoothing of energy can be achieved by a combination of herbal therapy, stress relief (by using meditation or yoga) and acupuncture.
- Your acupuncturist will recommend a mixture of these to help solve the problem
Step 3 – Acupressure at home
If a migraine does slip through your new found defences, you can try some simple acupressure to ease the pain in your head. This essentially means applying pressure to acupuncture points around your body. These points are
- at the base of the skull: GB-20, BL-10, GB-12
- around the neck area: GB-21
- on your hands: LI-4
- on your feet: LIV-1, LIV-2, LIV-3
The points vary depending on your underlying issues, so it is important to ask your acupuncturist which to use as well as where they are exactly!
So How Long Is A Course Of Migraine Acupuncture Treatment For Migraine Pain Relief?
Just like drugs that treat migraines usually take 4 weeks to start to take effect and up to 3 months before their full effect kicks in… Acupuncture needs to be carried out weekly for an extended period of time whilst the patient continues to have migraines. Once the migraines have ceased, the patient and acupuncturist will then agree the new length of time between treatments to fit the individual’s specific case. Essentially the time between treatments will gradually be lengthened, whilst ensuring the migraines remain under control.
Why You Should Try Acupuncture
Migraines are debilitating. Treating the symptom (pain) with drugs simply masks the underlying causes of the migraines. Acupuncture aims to both tackle the symptom (pain) whilst addressing the underlying causes (patterns) and is definitely worth trying if you suffer from migraines and want to tackle the causes as well as the symptoms of migraines… naturally.
Finding The Right Acupuncturist
As with all healthcare treatments, it is important to find a registered and qualified acupuncturist.
If you live in or near Bangor and you want an acupuncture clinic in Bangor, then Pagoda Acupuncture Clinic has just opened a clinic in Bangor, Gwynedd. All Pagoda Acupuncture practitioners are full members of The British Acupuncture Council.
You can find out more about Iain Lettice here and read testimonials people have given here. If you’re happy and don’t need to read any more, then book an appointment with Iain. Contact details are at the top of the page and here.