Acupuncture and Headaches

Studies Show that Acupuncture Stops Headaches

acupuncture for migraineCochrane Researchers conducted two different studies to show that acupuncture is indeed an effective treatment for the prevention and mitigation of migraines and headaches.

The goal of both studies was to discover if acupuncture is able to reduce how often headaches occur in a person. The first study was more focused on mild, yet frequent headaches while the second studied more chronic, yet less frequent headaches, or migraines. Both trials together involved over six thousand patients in total.

The studies lasted around eight weeks. The first showed that those who received acupuncture had fewer headaches than those who took standard pain medications. The second reported the same results.

acupunctureIn one case that involved about three hundred patients, acupuncture was shown to reduce headaches by as much as two hundred percent. These results initiated a similar test to be conducted for those who suffered chronic tension headaches. In this test the people involved were split up into three different groups over an eight week period. One group received no treatment, the second received minimal acupuncture (which is when needles don’t fully activate the point targeted), and the third received normal acupuncture. The group that received no treatment suffered one and a half fewer days of headaches, the minimal acupuncture group had around six and a half days of no headaches, and the full acupuncture group had a whole week of no headaches.

Headaches Treated with Acupuncture

These results show a strong correlation between acupuncture treatment and reduction in headaches.  In addition to acupuncture, there are some lifestyle changes that can be made to help reduce and treat headaches:

Lifestyle Change #1: Stress Management
meditiationStress is the number one cause of tension headaches.  Meditation is an excellent way to reduce stress.

Lifestyle Change #2: Sleep
sleepSleep is more important than you think. Most people need at least eight hours of sleep per night in order to maintain optimal mental and physical function.

Lifestyle Change #3: Eat Healthy
fertility dietSmall, regular, healthy meals are best for maintaining energy and managing blood sugar.  If you aren’t eating properly, then blood sugar can fall quickly which will result in a headache. Foods that can induce headaches include red meats, salty refined foods, and alcohol.

Lifestyle Change #4: Keep a Headache Journal
Keeping a headache journal will help your healthcare provider figure out the triggers of your headache as well as how to prevent them from happening.  When you have a headache record how much sleep and water you’ve had in the last 24 hours, meals, supplements, exercise, etc.

Lifestyle Change #5: Exercise
running woman outsideExercise is actually necessary for the healthy functional body.  It is not optional.  If you want to feel good, exercise.  If you don’t want to exercise, be prepared not to feel good.  Exercise optimizes all of your body’s functions, specifically blood flow which figures greatly in the realm of headaches.

How Acupuncture Can Treat Migraines

acupuncture for migraineEveryone gets headaches from time to time, and many can be treated with over the counter medicine. However, chronic migraines are another story entirely. Migraines are debilitating and can have additional symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and sensitivity to light. They can last anywhere froma few hours to days. Anyone who has ever had a migraine knows that they can feel unbearable. While some over the counter and prescription medications are available for migraine sufferers, they often come with the steep price of negative side effects that can make the patient feel sick long after the migraine has dissipated. A better, more holistic approach for chronic migraine sufferers is acupuncture for migraines.

Treating migraines begins with understanding the underlying source for the pain. Even though migraines are felt mostly in the head, other muscles in the body are actually responsible for the onset of the migraine itself. That’s why acupuncture for migraines deliberately avoids pressure points in the head. Stimulating these blood vessels can lead to an increase in pain if the blood vessels become dilated. Instead, the acupuncture is focused on the lower body to relieve tension in the muscles that cause migraines in the first place.

Your Changing Body: Acupuncture Relief for Menstrual and Pregnancy Migraines

While the exact cause of migraines is unknown, there is a general consensus among doctors that estrogen plays a role in the onset and duration of migraines, which explains why women suffer migraines during bodily changes like menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. If you routinely suffer from migraines before or during your menstrual cycle, scheduling an acupuncture appointment can prevent or arrest any migraines you might experience. For best results, you will want to make routine appointments with Dr. Laurie at Los Angeles Acupuncture and Wellness so that you can avoid getting debilitating migraines every month.

pregnant womanThe pregnant body experiences all kinds of different aches and pains, and often women experience their first migraine during pregnancy. Taking prescription drugs during pregnancy can have risks to you and your child, and sitting in silent suffering can wreak havoc on your home and work life. The good news is that acupuncture is safe for most pregnant women during pregnancy. (Be sure to double check with your doctor before making an appointment). Dr. Laurel Binder can perform acupuncture for pregnancy migraines, and she will work with you to develop a continuing treatment plan so that you can enjoy a migraine-free pregnancy.

Preventative Care

Acupuncture can also be used to prevent future migraines. Preventative acupuncture for migraines is generally performed on points on the lower arms and legs, and can also be performed on the tense muscles of the upper back and neck since that is where many migraine sufferers are strained. Other recommendations for preventing migraines include sleeping adequately, avoiding fatigue, and staying hydrated. If you haven’t done so already, begin a migraine journal and record any particular foods or scents that trigger your migraines. Once you know your trigger points, you can begin avoiding them, which can lead to a reduction in the amount of migraines you have overall.

Migraines are painful and often debilitating, but they don’t have to run your life anymore. Contact us today to set up an appointment and begin your journey through life without migraines.