Headache and Migraine Sufferers Find Relief with Acupuncture

headache-portland-maine-acupunctureby Diana Khoury

Over one in six Americans experiences chronic headaches1. Recurring headaches and migraines interfere with one’s daily functioning and can contribute to increased personal medical costs and sick time taken off of work. The traditional course of treatment for chronic headaches is medication, which has varying degrees of effectiveness plus associated side effects. Alternatively, research demonstrates that acupuncture can effectively reduce the severity and frequency of headaches, if not eliminate them entirely.

Duke University Medical Center conducted a review of over 30 research studies on the effectiveness of acupuncture for chronic headaches. They decisively concluded that acupuncture is equally if not more effective than medication for headache treatment, and that it provides sustained relief without the side effects.

“Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years but only recently has started to become more accepted as an alternative or supplement to conventional therapies,” stated T.J. Gan, MD, an anesthesiologist at Duke Medical Center who led the research analysis. “One of the barriers to treatment with acupuncture is getting people to understand that while needles are used it is not a painful experience. It is a method for releasing your body’s own natural painkillers.”

A controlled study in the UK of tension headache and migraine sufferers receiving acupuncture in conjunction with primary care, showed a clinically significant decrease in the severity and frequency of headaches. Study results showed a marked increase in daily functioning, reduction in pharmaceutical medications, a decrease in doctor visits and reduced number of sick days from work.2

Chronic headaches are one of the most common issues treated by acupuncturists. The practice of acupuncture views chronic pain as an imbalance or interruption of one’s qi (life force energy). Physiologically, the insertion of acupuncture needles triggers the release of pain- and inflammation-fighting chemicals in the body. Energetically, inserting thin needles along the body’s energy meridians clears blockages and restores the cyclical flow of qi, allowing the body to function at more optimal levels.

But since all headaches are not alike, an acupuncturist will first conduct a thorough intake and evaluation of your symptoms. The intake questions may include: location of headache, quality and intensity of pain, time(s) of day the headache occurs, stress level, sleep patterns, physical exertion/ exercise, dietary regimen, current medications and environmental factors such as daily light levels, pollutants or chemical exposures. This will allow the acupuncturist to create a targeted course of treatment for maximum results.

Brian Berman, MD, director of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine in Baltimore, confirmed that acupuncture is becoming a more popular treatment option for Americans. “There is more evidence coming out showing acupuncture is safe and often effective and should be considered as part of a multidisciplinary approach for
chronic pain.”3

This is an original article from Dreamclinic, Inc. Dreamclinic is a Health and Wellness company committed to sharing information about commonly experienced health conditions and how they may be impacted through the use of bodywork and other natural approaches. Dreamclinic offers massage, acupuncture, and Reiki sessions at its Greenlake and Queen Anne clinics, as well as onsite massage at workplaces around Puget Sound. Contact us [Add link to contact us page]  to learn more about how Dreamclinic can help you, your family or your workplace experience greater health.

1. http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/news/acupuncture_offers_headache_relief_over_medication
2. http://www.bmj.com/content/328/7442/744
3. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/136103.php

Image: http://portlandmaineacupuncture.com/acupuncture-for-headache/

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