Acupuncture for Headaches & Migraines
Acupuncture treatment is recommended by NICE (National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence) to treat tension type headaches and migraines, and that doctors should prescribe it.
So many people suffer from the many types of headache and migraine. There is the dull on-top-of-your-head headache, a tight bad around your temples, a throbbing above your eyes sinus type headache, and a classic one-sided pain accompanied by nausea and photophobia. You may be very unlucky and suffer from more than one type of headache. One in 50 people suffer from headaches, and women are 5 times as likely to have headaches as men.
How can acupuncture help Headaches & Migraines?
Acupuncture can treat the underlying cause of your headache, which may be stress, hormonal irregularity, overwork and exhaustion, or sinus infection. It will also treat the resulting pain causing the headache.
In Chinese medicine there are many differentiations of headaches. The beauty of this medicine is your diagnosis will be specific to your experience and symptoms, so treatment can be tailored to your needs. Your practitioner will discuss with you the type of pain you experience, the onset, where it is located, associated symptoms, lifestyle and diet.
Medical research shows acupuncture can help treat headaches by:
- Reducing swelling and inflammation
- Regulating blood flow
- Stimulating nerve fibres and influence the pain response through the brain and spinal cord
- Releasing pain relieving chemicals and endorphins
- Regulating hormones (if migraines are related to menstrual cycle or menopause)
- Reducing effects of stress on the body and relieve muscle tension in the upper back and neck
Acupuncture for chronic headache in primary care
BMJ 2004; 328:744 A Vickers et al
In this large trail, patients were given 12 acupuncture treatments over 3 months. The acupuncture group experienced 22 days fewer of headache per year, made 25% less visits to the GP and took 15% fewer days off sick. The conclusion states expansion of acupuncture NHS should be considered.
Acupuncture for idiopathic headache
Cochrane Library D Melchart et al Jan 2001
This review supports the value of acupuncture for the treatment of idiopathic (unknown cause) headache.
Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine
Linde K et al June 2016 Cochrane Library.
This study shows acupuncture reduced migraine frequency significantly more than drug treatment.