Research on Acupuncture & Chronic Migraine
Patients who received acupuncture to treat chronic headaches, particularly migraines, experienced the equivalent of 22 fewer days of headaches per year, used 15% less medication and missed 15% fewer days of work. Another study systematically reviewed 22 randomized controlled trials, concluding acupuncture “has a role in the treatment of recurrent headaches,” and can lead to other various clinical benefits for patients with chronics headache.
[Vickers Al, et al. BMJ, 2004 Mar.27;328(7442). Cephalgia, Nov.;1999]
Acupuncture and TCM for headaches
Acupuncture is not only effective for migraine headaches, but also works very well with tension headaches, cluster headaches, post-traumatic headaches, and disease-related headaches that might be due to sinus problems, TMJ, stroke, high blood pressure, or sleeping disorders.
The greatest advantage of acupuncture is that it has virtually no side effects. Acupuncture, as an effective treatment modality, was applied to headaches from the earliest beginnings of traditional Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine has a very coherent, consistent and philosophically-based framework for headache etiology, physiology, diagnosis, and treatment strategy.
All the body’s Yang meridians meet in the head, and they facilitate the flow of Blood and Qi into the head. A clear mind and pain-free head depends on having a sufficiency of Qi and Blood flow, well-functioning internal organs, and a correct rising and falling of Yin and Yang energy.
There are a number of conditions, patterns, or dysfunctions that can cause headaches. The most common are: a deficiency of Qi, which prevents Qi and Yang from circulating properly; a deficiency of Blood, so that the meridians aren’t properly nourished, and insufficient Blood is circulating to the head; a blockage of the meridians by external pathogenic factors. Acupuncture treatment can harmonize the organs, balance Yin and Yang, tonify Chi and Blood, and clear blocked meridians.
Migraines and Headaches
Migraines and other types of headaches, such as tension headache and sinus headache, are painful. Migraine symptoms include a pounding headache, nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity. There are many different types of headaches. Although not all headaches are the same, they all share at least one thing in common, "they cause pain". But many headaches also cause other unwanted symptoms, including nausea and vomiting.
People with tension headaches commonly report these symptoms:
Episodic Tension Headaches (occur less than 15 days per month)
Pain is mild to moderate, constant band-like pain or pressure
Pain affects the front, top or sides of the head.
Pain usually begins gradually, and often occurs in the middle of the day
Pain may last from 30 minutes to several daysChronic Tension Headaches (occur more than 15 days per month)
Pain may vary in intensity throughout the day, but the pain is almost always present
Pain comes and goes over a prolonged period of timeAssociated Symptoms of Tension Headaches include:
Headache upon awakening
Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
Mild sensitivity to light or noise
General muscle achingMigraines
The symptoms of migraine headaches can occur in various combinations and include:
Moderate to severe pain (often described as pounding, throbbing pain) that can affect the whole head, or can shift from one side of the head to the other
Sensitivity to light, noise or odors
Nausea or vomiting, stomach upset, abdominal pain
Loss of appetite
Sensations of being very warm or cold
Bright flashing dots or lights, blind spots, wavy or jagged lines (aura)Cluster Headaches
Intense one-sided pain described as having a burning or piercing quality that is throbbing or constant
Pain is located behind one eye or in the eye region, without changing sides.
Pain lasts a short time, generally 30 to 90 minutes (but can last for three hours); the headache will disappear, only to recur later that day (most sufferers get one to three headaches and some up to eight per day during a cluster period).
Headaches occur very regularly, generally at the same time each day, and they often awaken the person at the same time during the night.Sinus Headaches
Deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead or bridge of the nose
The pain usually intensifies with sudden head movement or straining and usually occurs with other sinus symptoms, such as nasal discharge, feeling of fullness in the ears, fever, and facial swelling.
Headaches according to TCM
According to the TCM, headaches have two sources, Exterior and Interior.
Acupuncture, Herbs, Reiki