Acupuncture For Migraine And Headache

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treatments are designed to eliminate meridian blockage, as well as stimulate the nervous system, immune system and endocrine system, which can improve sleep and reduce or eliminate pain.

Headaches are among the most common neurological disorders in the world, affecting as many as half of those between 18 and 65 years of age. Up to a third of those people suffer from migraines, a particularly painful neurological disorder that can affect the entire body. Nearly 5 percent of them experience head pain at least 15 days a month. These types of disorders can affect people of any age, race, ethnicity or background.

Although most headache disorders are self-limiting and are not necessarily associated with more serious health problems, the pain they bring can be debilitating. The pain can also pull the patient into a cycle of pain. While sleep can be restorative, it can be tough to sleep while you are suffering pain. Exercise can release pain-relieving endorphins and boost energy levels, but someone who is experiencing chronic pain may lack the energy and ability to exercise regularly. As the chronic pain cycle continues, a person can develop depression, anxiety and other mood problems. At Adelaide City Acupuncture, we are committed to helping people break this cycle and live their lives free of pain. We offer alternative migraine treatment

Types and Causes of Head Pain

Migraine Attacks

A migraine attack begins when pain-producing inflammatory substances flood the nerves and blood vessels of the brain. Migraineurs can be triggered by certain foods, lack of sleep, hormones, stress and other factors. An attack is typically one-sided with a pulsating sensation. The pain can be aggravated by movement, light and sound and can last mere hours or many days. Most migraineurs also experience nausea and may struggle with dizziness, lightheadedness, irritability and aura during an attack.

Migraine disorders can begin during puberty or earlier, and they become more prevalent in midlife. Women are more frequently affected thanks to their natural hormonal fluctuations, but men can also suffer from them.

Tension-Type Headache

Also known as TTH, this disorder is often associated with neck problems or stress. The pain can present as tightness or pressure around the head and, in some cases, the neck or shoulders. The attacks typically last a few hours but can continue for days. Women are more likely to suffer from TTH, which commonly begins during puberty.

Cluster Headache

CH is a less common primary disorder. It usually develops when people are in their 20s, and it affects more men than women. The pain of CH can recur intermittently or up to several times a day. It tends to be focused on or around a single eye, causing redness, tenderness and tearing. The person's eyelid might even droop during an attack.

The Consequences of Chronic or Frequent Pain

Apart from the aching and throbbing pain that migraineurs and other chronic pain sufferers experience, these disorders can also be fairly disabling. They are the third leading cause of disability, and migraine attacks alone are the sixth highest cause of disability.

Chronic pain can lower a person’s quality of life, cause significant suffering, interfere with relationships, affect employment opportunities and add financial burdens. In the long-term, chronic pain can also increase the risk of certain other health problems. Migraineurs, for example, are at a significantly higher risk of suffering from depression and stroke.

Treating head pain using conventional methods also brings with it its own set of risks. Medications have side effects and risks, and using some medications too frequently can lead to medication-overuse head pain. In fact, this is the most common secondary head pain disorder affecting up to 5 percent of people.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture has a long, rich history of healing in traditional Chinese medicine, but it can be traced even further back in time with evidence of ancient Indian, European and South American people having undergone similar treatments. During a treatment, extremely fine, sterile single-use needles are inserted into the skin at key points to stimulate the natural healing process. The treatment can be used alone or combined with heat, pressure or electrical stimulation to enhance the results.

Yin, Yang and Qi: Understanding Chinese Medicine

Qigong, or Qi, as it is better known, is the energy of life. It flows through every living thing, including your body. Much like your blood flows through your circulatory, so qi flows through the meridians in your body. There are 12 different channels through which qi flows, and as long as it flows freely, you will remain healthy. Unfortunately, toxins and waste can block the flow of chi, creating an imbalance of yin and yang, or opposing forces. Over time, the debris will accumulate and lead to ill health, disease and chronic pain.

Acupuncture or acupressure treatments are designed to eliminate the blocks. Along with needles, other techniques can be used, including massage, cupping, heat therapy, moxibustion and herbal medicines. The stimulation not only unblocks the meridians to get qi flowing again, but it also stimulates the nervous system, immune system and endocrine system, which can improve sleep and reduce or eliminate pain.

Does It Really Work?

An Australian review by the AACMA revealed that treatment could have a positive effect on more than 40 different conditions, including head pain and nausea. The World Health Organisation has identified more than 50 conditions that respond positively to acupuncture, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health have documented the safety and efficacy of this treatment to treat many conditions, including pain-related health problems.

What to Expect

When you visit Adelaide City Acupuncture, we will start by taking your medical and health history. Next, we will take your pulse and perform a few physical examinations to identify your specific health needs and create your treatment plan.

For your treatment, you will be reclining on a treatment table, and the acupuncturist uses sterile, single-use needles no thicker than a strand of hair to stimulate the appropriate regions. The needles will remain in place between five and 30 minutes at a time. There is minimal or no pain involved, and most patients report feeling deeply relaxed during and after the procedure.

Is It Right for Me?

While skepticism abounds for many types of alternative migraine treatment, extensive research has demonstrated that acupuncture is safe and effective and has little risk of adverse events when performed by a properly trained acupuncturist. It is an excellent non-drug, non-invasive therapy that can help you avoid opiates and other potentially habit-forming drugs by bringing you natural relief and healing. It is particularly helpful for migraineurs and those who suffer from TTH and CH. These patients report attack frequency drops by 50 percent or more, and the relief can last up to six months.

Adelaide City Acupuncture: Alternative Solutions for Chronic Headache Pain

Our team at Adelaide City Acupuncture offers an extensive selection of therapies based on Chinese medicine, including:

  • Chinese nutrition
  • Herbal medicine and topical treatments
  • Fire cupping and wet cupping
  • Electro-acupuncture
  • Light needle laser treatments
  • Gua Sha
  • Far-infrared heat therapy
  • Moxibustion
  • Tai Chi and Qi Gong
  • Tui-Na massage

You don't have to suffer anymore. At Adelaide Acupuncture Centre, We will work with you to find the best treatment solution for your healthcare needs. We are conveniently located in the CBD and easily accessible through both private and public transportation. Contact us today to learn more about our alternative migraine treatment options or to schedule your consultation.

We Can Help With Other Conditions

Need Help?

Call Us (08) 8221 5880

Address:
Level 1 West Wing
50 Grenfell Street
Adelaide SA 5000

Reference:

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/acupuncture-for-headache-2018012513146
  2. https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/understanding-migraine/acupuncture-and-migraine-finding-a-combination-that-sticks/
  3. https://www.migrainetrust.org/living-with-migraine/treatments/acupuncture/
  4. https://www.cochrane.org/CD001218/SYMPT_acupuncture-preventing-migraine-attacks
  5. Friedman AP et al. Migraine and tension headaches: a clinical study of two thousand cases. Neurology 1954; 4: 773-88.
  6. Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The International Classification of Headache Disorders: 2nd edition.Cephalalgia 2004; 24: 9-160.
  7. Lance JW et al. Investigations into the mechanism and treatment of chronic headache. Med J Aust 1965; 2: 909-14
  8. Russell MB et al. Familial occurrence of chronic tension-type headache. Cephalalgia 1999; 19: 207-10.
  9. [Steiner TJ et al, 2007. Guidelines for all healthcare professionals in the diagnosis and management of migraine, tension-type, cluster and medication-overuse headache [online]. Hull: British Association for the Study of Headache. 
  10. Watson DP. Easing the pain: challenges and opportunities in headache management. Br J Gen Pract 2008; 58: 77-8.