Do migraines keep you from enjoying your hobbies, excelling at work, or spending quality time with your loved ones? If so, you’re not alone. Migraines are a common neurological condition affecting 10% of the world’s population.
Migraines can be difficult and frustrating to manage, but there is hope with acupuncture. Acupuncture is a safe and natural way to reduce, ease, and prevent migraines – often in less than 10 treatments.
Read on to see how acupuncture can help you stop the pain and live free from migraines.
What Type of Headache Do You Have?
While headaches all involve some kind of pain in the head, face, or neck, not all headaches are the same. Getting to the root of your migraine pain starts by understanding exactly what types of migraines you have:
- Migraine without aura: This is the most common type of migraine. Symptoms usually include moderate to severe headache pain, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vomiting.
- Migraine with aura: This type of migraine can bring on an “aura” – a range of visual disturbances like flashing lights or blind spots, as well as other sensory symptoms like tingling or numbness in the face or hands. The aura usually lasts for 20-60 minutes and is followed by a headache.
- Chronic migraine: This type of migraine occurs when a person has 15 or more headache days per month, with at least 8 of those being migraines.
- Vestibular migraine: This type of migraine is characterized by dizziness or vertigo, often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Other symptoms can include difficulty with balance and visual disturbances.
- Menstrual migraine: This type of migraine is linked to a woman’s menstrual cycle and usually occurs in the days leading up to or during menstruation.
- Hemiplegic migraine: This is a rare type of migraine that also causes temporary paralysis or weakness on one side of the body, as well as other symptoms like vision changes, difficulty speaking, and confusion.
Along with the Western medicine migraine types, Oriental Medicine also considers other factors to ensure your treatment addresses the root cause as effectively as possible:
Where your headaches tend to occur can determine the root cause of your headaches. For instance, a headache at the temples may be caused by stress or imbalances in the Liver and Gallbladder systems. A migraine that occurs in the back of the head and neck may be related to the Urinary Bladder system, postural imbalances, or muscular issues.
- Type of pain
Is your pain sharp or dull? In one spot or all over? Better with cold or heat? Worse at night or in the morning? These and other questions help determine the “quality” of your migraines and if there are other factors to consider when determining your treatment.
- Your constitution
Each person has a natural constitution that can impact their health and which symptoms they experience when they fall out of balance. In Dr. Ko’s experience, those with sensitive or stressed-out constitutions tend to experience migraines more commonly. Your constitution may also play a factor in the type of treatment that works best for you and how quickly you recover from migraines.
How Acupuncture Helps You Relieve & Prevent Migraine Headaches
Acupuncture has been used to relieve pain and improve health for thousands of years. Today, one of the most common reasons people visit an acupuncturist is still to find relief from issues like stress and migraines.
But how does acupuncture work to relieve migraines? Researchers are still determining the exact reasons why acupuncture works. What we do know is that acupuncture is proven to be safe and effective for relieving a wide range of pain conditions, like headaches. Here’s why:
- Acupuncture releases pain-killing endorphins.
When acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin, they stimulate sensory receptors in the underlying muscle tissue. These receptors then send signals to the central nervous system, which triggers the release of endorphins from the pituitary gland and other areas of the body. Research shows that acupuncture specifically increases the levels of beta-endorphins, which are known to have pain-relieving effects and may help to reduce the severity of migraine pain.
- Acupuncture improves blood flow to the brain.
One way that acupuncture helps relieve headache pain is by promoting circulation through the body – including the brain. Studies show that acupuncture helps regulate the nervous system and improves “cerebral blood flow,” or blood flow to the brain. Improved circulation helps reduce the frequency of migraines and improves overall brain function.
- Acupuncture naturally reduces stress levels.
Stress is one of the most common migraine triggers, which is why reducing stress levels is key if you want to overcome headaches naturally. Acupuncture is both a calming way to practice self-care and relaxation, as well as an effective method for managing stress on a biochemical level.
When the body is under stress, it triggers the release of cortisol. When we release too much cortisol (or release it too often as is the case in chronic stress), we are likely to suffer from harmful inflammation and a range of health problems (including migraines). Acupuncture can help reduce stress and bring our cortisol levels under control. It does so by shifting the nervous system into a state of relaxation and out of the “fight-or-flight” mode that can trigger a migraine.
Acupuncture for Migraines: What to Expect
Acupuncture is a proven treatment for migraines and offers many health benefits in addition to headache relief.
When you visit 120 Acupuncture Clinic, you’ll typically have an initial consultation with Dr. Ko to discuss your medical history, symptoms, and lifestyle. During the treatment, you’ll lie down on a comfortable table while Dr. Ko gently inserts a few strategic acupuncture points along the body.
How many sessions you’ll need usually depends on how your symptoms present and your lifestyle, but you should expect to come for at least a few acupuncture treatments to get the best results. According to Dr. Ko, “No matter how severe a migraine is, normally it is treated within 5-10 sessions of treatment.”
Along with acupuncture, the most important thing you can do to help reduce and prevent migraines is to practice healthy stress management. As Dr. Ko says, “The most important thing for relieving migraines is not to be stressed out.” Make time each day to enjoy activities like exercise and meditation that keep your stress levels low (and reduce the risk of a migraine flare).
Heal Your Headaches at 120 Acupuncture Clinic
Acupuncture is a gentle and natural treatment option that provides fast, natural, and lasting relief from migraines. By targeting specific points on your body, acupuncture activates your body’s natural healing mechanisms to reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines.
With acupuncture, you can find comfort and support to manage your migraines and improve your overall well-being.
You don’t have to put your life on pause because of migraines. Book your appointment today, or call us at 1-818-980-7979 to see how acupuncture can help you.