What are Migraines?
Migraines are intense headaches that can make you nauseous, sensitive to light, smells, or sounds, and cause you to vomit. The causes of migraines can vary, but they can include stress, foods/drinks with alcohol or caffeine, and/or hormonal changes. The common treatments are over the counter/prescription medications, diet, exercise, improving sleep, and other lifestyle modifications. But did you know that acupuncture may also help?
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine where thin needles are inserted in specific points on the body. The needles are then manually, or electrically stimulated to increase blood flow and release of the body’s own natural pain killers. The treatment causes little, to no discomfort if done by a trained specialist, and has virtually no side effects. Many studies have shown that it does help to relieve pains associated with neck, back, knee, or chronic migraines.
Does Acupuncture for Migraines Work?
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that acupuncture does provide relief in those suffering from migraines. The study analyzed around 500 adults who suffered an average of six days of migraines per month. They were given either traditional Chinese acupuncture where the needles where placed in specific areas according to the patient or sham treatment. Those who participated did not know which type of treatment they were getting but all reported a reduction in both the number and intensity of migraines after the study was completed. Three months after the study, the effects lasted in only those who received traditional Chinese acupuncture for migraines. Sham treatment was not tailored to the individual patient’s needs nor where the needles placed in areas that have been shown to target migraine pain.
It is important to note that previous research suggests that people who respond best to acupuncture treatments are those who have not been helped by other treatments and those who had past positive experiences with acupuncture. If you decide you want to explore acupuncture for migraines, give our office a call to schedule an appointment. We would be glad to discuss your treatment with you in person!
How to Avoid Migraines *
Keep a Log of Foods/Drinks
By keeping a log of foods and drinks you have before a migraine hits, you may be able to find the offending item in your diet.
For some of us, this may be the hardest of all, but reducing your caffeine intake should help reduce the intensity of your migraines.
Take Precautions When Working Out
For some, high intensity workouts can cause migraines. Be sure to know your limits, and take anti-inflammatory medications to help with a migraine onset after a workout.
There are people who will tell you to get more sleep. However we think the quality of your sleep is even more important. If you’re already getting normal amounts of sleep, try reducing your TV time at night, eating dinner a little earlier, and put away those phones when it’s time for shut-eye.
*Please consult your physician if you are experiencing severe pain.