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Acupuncture for migraines

On this page

  1. Overview
  2. Symptoms
  3. Causes
  4. Treatment
  5. Research

1. Overview

Migraines are a type of chronic headache that occurs frequently and usually last for 4 to 72 hours. The pain varies from moderate to severe in intensity.

Migraines are a common disorder ; a UK follow - up study found the migraine incidence rate to be 3.69 cases per 1,000 person - years, and to be around 2.5 times higher in women than men.

2. Symptoms

Symptoms of migraines include one sided pain on the head and face, pulsating pain, moderate or severe intensity, and worsened by physical activity. Sufferers may also experience migraines with auras, aversion to light and sound, nausea and vomiting.

3. Causes

There are several causes of migraines, including:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Stress
  • Certain drinks
  • Sensory stimuli
  • Sleep changes
  • Physical factors
  • Changes in the weather
  • Certain medications

4. Acupuncture for migraines

More and more people are now turning to the ancient holistic treatment of acupuncture to prevent migraines and reduce migraines. Acupuncture helps to remove shoulder and neck tension and balance hormones to relieve symptoms and reduce the rate of migraine attacks.

Many people with migraine can be treated during an attacks occur, but some need prophylactic medication, as their attacks are either too frequent or are insufficiently controlled. Several drugs, such as beta-blockers, amitriptyline or sodium valproate, are used in an attempt to reduce attack frequency, but all these drugs are associated with adverse effects.

It's also been found to be cost-effective and offer long term benefits. As well as prevention it may also be used to alleviate symptoms during acute attacks. There is preliminary qualitative evidence from patients that acupuncture treatment can increase coping mechanisms as well as relieve migraine symptoms. I have helped many people suffering from migraines.

Pain relief is now the most common complaint that most acupuncturists treat today. Other therapist such as physiotherapists and osteopaths use it to treat pain as it's so good, but unfortunately after just doing a weekend course.

The most common form of treatment for migraines is sleep. Sleep is so effective for migraine sufferers as most migraines are caused by a deficiency of energy and blood and sleep helps to rejuvenate energy and blood levels.

Migraine sufferers can also benefit from reducing their work levels, sleeping earlier, optimising their diet and taking supplements such as iron or Chinese herbs.

Watch my animated video below, which explains how acupuncture can treat migraines.

I've helped many people, both men and women who are migraine sufferers or have a high frequency of headaches. Regular weekly sessions are advised with a minimum of 6 sessions, which is a course of treatment.

5. Research

There have now been many controlled trials of acupuncture for migraine relief, with some large, high-quality ones in recent years. The results of the latest reviews are quite consistent: acupuncture is least as effective as prophylactic drug treatment, with few contraindications or adverse side effects.

A systematic review that analysed clinical trials from Cochrane database of systematic reviews into tension headache and migraine attacks suggests acupuncture versus sham acupuncture in those people who received traditional acupuncture where needles are inserted into points that relieve pain found the effectiveness of acupuncture to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.

Other randomised controlled trials have confirmed the beneficial effects this treatment for migraine relief.