Headaches can vary in location, intensity, frequency and cause. The pain associated with headache is caused by inflammation of pain sensitive parts in and around the neck and head in the nerves, blood vessels and muscles.
Acupuncture treats all headache types including the two most common: migraine and tension headaches.
- Migraine is a genetic and chronic disease, characterized by a debilitating, throbbing pain often on one side of the head,
- It can last from two to seventy two hours,
- It is associated with nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light, sound or both.
- A tension headache develops from tightness and pressure-like sensations across the forehead, on the sides, the back of the head or behind the eyes,
- It is marked by a dull aching pain in the head which can last from hours to days,
- It is associated with tenderness and tightness in the shoulder muscles.
Both types of headache may have particular triggers which exacerbate symptoms, such as sleep disturbance, poor diet, alcohol, lack of exercise, stress and fatigue or eye strain.
Acupuncturists examine a number of signs and symptoms in the individual patient to prescribe a treatment for headache based on headache location, intensity, duration, pain triggers and other associated symptoms.
For migraine and headache, acupuncture:
- Needles points near nerves which prompts the brain to release natural pain killers which decrease pain,
- Acupuncture can be combined with cupping on the neck or shoulders to signal to the brain to direct blood flow to the affected areas, relaxing those muscles to ease tension and lessen pain,
- Treatment influences the nervous system to reduce stress and the strengthens the body’s response to stress,
- It has an anti-inflammatory affect which reduces swelling and inflammation in the shoulders neck and head, lessening pain,
- It boosts the immune system to reduce the body’s sensitivity to external and internal toxins which may trigger headache.
- It uses points which improve mood and increase mental clarity, diminishing the brain fog associated with headache.
Approximately 9% of acupuncture patients seek treatment for headache. Frequent acupuncture treatments lessen the intensity, duration and occurrence of headache.
Acupuncturists are mindful of headache triggers; and incorporate extensive diet and lifestyle recommendations in treatments for headache.