For chronic migraine sufferers, acupuncture for migraines can provide an excellent alternative to complement their medical treatments. Acupuncture is a well-known component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). TCM has been practiced for thousands of years and includes the use of herbal medicines and mind-body practices. In the U.S., acupuncture is generally perceived as complementary to Western medical treatment. It is believed that this alternative treatment may be effective in managing certain pain conditions, including migraine headache. The Diamond Headache Clinic offers acupuncture for migraines to help patients find their own balance between lifestyle adjustments, medical therapies and alternative treatments. If you have been struggling with headaches, acupuncture for headaches may provide an excellent supplement to the existing medical therapies you have tried.
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture for headaches is a relatively simple procedure. It involves the insertion of thin needles into specific pressure points on the body. After insertion, the needles are manually or electrically stimulated to increase blood flow, and thus circulation, in the areas around the needles.
Acupuncture for Migraine Pain Relief
Since headaches affect the head, many people assume that acupuncture points for headaches will be located in the head and neck. This is not the case for migraines, and using these points for migraines may cause the problem to worsen.
Because migraine pain may be associated with the dilation of blood vessels in the head, increasing circulation in the head may worsen migraine pain. For this reason, knowledgeable acupuncturists avoid insertion points in the head, neck and upper body; instead, needles are inserted only into points on the lower body. To further minimize the dilation of blood vessels in the head, this procedure is performed with the patient in a reclining position rather than lying face downward.
Acupuncture for Migraine Prevention
Acupuncture treatment for headache prevention is based on stress reduction. The parasympathetic nervous system (relaxed state) is activated while muscle tension is relieved. The needles are placed into insertion points on the forearms and lower legs to increase blood flow to sore and tense muscles. The goal is to reduce tension in the neck and upper back.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Yes, acupuncture is perfectly safe when performed by licensed and skilled professionals. In fact, one of the benefits of acupuncture for migraines and headaches is the fact that patients do not experience the side effects that are associated with drug therapy. You should always let your doctor know if you are using acupuncture or other alternative therapies.
Is Acupuncture Effective?
While not a proven remedy for headache pain by itself, acupuncture treatment for headaches helps some migraineur's gain more control over their pain and improve their condition. It is not intended as a substitute for your pharmaceutical therapy, but rather as a supplement to your acute and preventive medication regimen, providing additional relief as needed. Alternative therapies like acupuncture help patients gain personal power over their headache condition. If you are interested in more information about acupuncture and migraines or other headache conditions, contact Diamond Headache Clinic today.