Acupuncture for Headaches and Migraine
One common reason people try acupuncture,
is to help resolve headaches and migraines
Headaches affect up to 80% of the UK’s adult population.
Symptoms often have multiple factors that affect them and often begin in childhood. 40% of people with headaches have a history of them in the family.
The characteristics of headaches range from mild to acute pain. More severe cases may see sufferers struggle with photophobia or phonophobia (sensitivity to light or noise) and may be accompanied by nausea and even vomiting. Duration can range from a few minutes to a few days and symptoms often ease with painkillers, water and rest.
There are many common factors include: stress, not drinking enough fluids (dehydration), drinking too much alcohol, bad posture, eyesight problems, not eating regular meals, menstrual irregularities, menopausal symptoms and having a cold or flu.
Migraines are estimated to affect 190,000 people every day in England and 6 million people suffer from migraine in the UK. It is a condition that often includes a severe headache and often just on one side of the head.
What often makes migraine different from headaches, is the severity of the pain, but also migraines may have other symptoms that accompany it, such as visual disturbance, light sensitivity, vertigo, tinnitus, nausea and even vomiting. Symptoms may ease with painkillers and nausea medication but often lying down in a dark room may be the only thing that helps.
It's not entirely clear what causes migraines, but they can be triggered by menstrual issues, stress, tiredness and certain foods or drinks. You may be able to reduce your migraines by avoiding things that tend to cause them. Eating and sleeping well and regular exercise can also help.
Could acupuncture for headaches and migraines work?
If you suffer from headaches or migraines, you might wish to consider trying acupuncture for headaches and migraines, as an alternative treatment to the medication your GP prescribes.
During an Initial Consultation we go through your medical history and combine these with CM diagnosis to develop an understanding of what is going on. Alongside discussing any specific symptoms, diagnostic techniques, such as channel palpation and pulse & tongue diagnosis, are used to identify issues within your system.
Acupuncture uses fine metal needles, in specific points, to stimulate the physiology along these systemic circulations, strengthening them where it has become weak or clearing it where it has become congested or blocked, helping restore the mind and body's normal physiological function.
Systematic reviews indicate the benefits of having acupuncture for headaches and migraines.
How much treatment do I need?
Treatment is recommended about every 1 to 2 weeks, while you have symptoms.
Depending on the nature of the issue, as health is restored, you may be advised to have treatment from time-to-time to keep your system working well.
Where do the needles go?
We generally use a combination of ‘local’ and ‘distal’ points.
‘Local’ points are on located near the site of any issues we wish to address. ‘Distal’ points are on your arms and legs (below your elbows and knees) that influence the circulation through the entire length of the Channels and Network Vessels.
I will always discuss what points I am going to use first and make sure that you feel comfortable.
About Rick Mudie
BSc (Hons), BSc (Oriental Med), MBAcC
Rick is a member of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC). He is a Course Leader, Clinical Supervisor and Lecturer at The International College of Oriental Medicine (ICOM), the UK's oldest acupuncture college.
He is a traditional Chinese acupuncturist with over 20 years clinical experience.
Read more about Rick.