By Andrew Agoado, AP, DOM (AP3220 Florida) – Palm Beach Gardens – If you have suffered from migraines, then you know just how much of a debilitating nuisance they can be. Migraines can affect anyone no matter their age, profession or gender. Migraines are nothing like the common headache we experience from fatigue or stress. They hit harder and can be much more crippling. Migraines also develop through some stages. Women experience migraines 3 times more often than the male section of the population.
There are several treatment options available but in our opinion none more exciting than Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Our style of holistic medicine has brought relief to countless patients at our Palm Beach Gardens location, and we are confident that we can help you too. Let’s read more on this condition, along with its causes and conventional treatments, before we delve more into how acupuncture works.
Symptoms associated with migraines and headache
The most common type of headache is a tension headache which people consider to be a normal ache. A tension headache is constant and can affect one or both sides of the head. The feeling is similar to that of wrapping a tight elastic band around the head.
While tension headaches may be common, migraines occur less often. A common headache is bearable. You can go through your normal day with headache without having to stop due to the pain or distress you feel. A migraine on the other hand causes so much pain that the person has to put a halt to their daily routine. In many cases, the person prefers to spend the rest of the day in bed to recover.
There are ways to tell whether the pain you are feeling is from a migraine or a common headache. Migraines are usually accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, nausea and sensitivity to noise and light. Such attacks can go on for anything between 4 to 72 hours.
There is another type of headache which occurs rarely known as the cluster headache. The headache, as the name suggests, occurs in clusters over a month or two. Cluster headaches may come in seasons. Such headaches cause excruciating pain around the eyes. Other symptoms include a runny or/and blocked nose and bloodshot eyes.
Common causes of migraines and headaches
Headaches caused by other health problems can be worrying; however, not many people are affected by these. A night of drinking is one of the most common reasons people experience headaches. The following morning is usually fraught with the effects of the previous night and a headache is always one of the most prominent. Temporomandibular disorders such as muscle inflammation at the jaws or bad chewing can also cause such pain. Flu and colds can also cause headaches.
Women are affected by headaches a lot more than men and one of the main reasons for this is hormonal imbalances. An irregular hormonal cycle can cause headaches especially when the woman is on her period. In some cases, such headaches have been known to last through the whole cycle. Some contraceptive pills have also been reported to cause headaches as a side effect. Women can also experience headaches due to pregnancy or when they hit menopause.
Headaches can also be the result of head trauma. When the head is subjected to sudden pressure such as when you hit a hard surface, it usually results to headaches. In other cases, the headaches are as a result of too much medication. Overdosing on painkillers can cause headaches. Other causes include sleep apnea, food and chemical sensitivities, sinusitis and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Western Medical Treatments for Migraines and Headaches
Headaches are typically treated in two ways. There is preventive and pain killing medication prescribed for headaches. The pain killers can usually be bought over the counter. These medications are also known as abortive treatments and are non-specific. They include analgesics such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin and opiates. Adjunctive therapies such as steroids or intranasal iodicaine can also be used in the same way. You can also treat such headaches using migraine-specific abortive therapies such as triptans or ergotamine.
The second type is preventive medication, which stops migraines and headaches from occurring. These include;
- Divalproex – branded as Depakote
- Propanolol – branded as Inderal
- Topiramate – branded as Topamax
- Onabotulinum Toxin Type A – branded as Botox, which is only allowed for chronic migraines which may occurs for 15 or more days in a month
Western medication can be a dependable way of treating most of what ails us. However, it also comes at a price thanks to the side effects which in some cases can be debilitating. Muscle weakness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, weight gain and hair loss are just some of the known side effects of conventional medicines for headache.
For those who want to forego the side effects of conventional treatment, there are always alternative medicine options like acupuncture. Acupuncture, as part of Traditional Chinese medicine, has been known to treat a myriad of conditions and acupuncture is one of the most effective techniques.
How acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Treats Migraines and Headaches
An acupuncturist inserts tinny needles just below the skin painlessly. These acupuncture needles are inserted at specific points in the body. The treatment can relieve a headache or migraine as effectively as any medical prescription drug. As a form of Chinese Traditional Medicine, acupuncture has been used to treat such headaches very well. Your acupuncturist just needs to find the root cause of the headache to know what acupuncture points to use for effective treatment, which counters the imbalance.
The website migraine.com states, “While traditional Chinese medicine believes that the chi or energy flow is improved with acupuncture, many Western medicine proponents believe that it stimulates the body’s natural painkillers (endorphins), increases blood flow, and stimulates nerves, muscles and tissues.” Acupuncture reduces the frequency of headaches and migraines as well as severity of the pain. Moreover you don’t have to worry about side effects.
Research showing the efficacy of acupuncture in treating migraines
The Canadian Medical Association Journal published a study in which 500 adult participants with monthly headaches were treated. All participants had experienced headaches and migraines six to eight times each month. After the study, the participants reported reduced frequency of headaches with some fully treated.
The British Acupuncture Council has endorsed the treatment of headaches using acupuncture. The council believes that acupuncture gives better relief than conventional treatments. The treatment also alleviates inflammation and is cost-effective.
Palm Beach Gardens Acupuncture is here for you. Don’t put up with any more pain due to headache or migraine. Come to us and one of our experienced, skilled acupuncture physicians will help you deal with the problem to achieve lasting results. Get a free consultation when you call today!