Acupuncture for Headaches and Migraines
How Acupuncture Can Help Your Migraine Headaches.
Acupuncture seeks to restore the flow of positive energy throughout your body.
It also claims to remove negative energy that is causing you pain. From a modern medical perspective, acupuncture stimulates various systems of your body. This may trigger a healing response. Acupuncture divides your body into a series of zones and pressure points. Acupuncture needles are inserted into different pressure points, depending on your symptoms. These needle points are usually near nerves in your body. The needle stimulates the nerves to release hormones, such as endorphins , that trigger a response from your body. This immune and circulation system stimulation is what proponents of acupuncture claim relieves migraines and tension headaches.
Acupuncture treatment for migraine headaches
tim h. Tanaka, ph. D. Director,
visiting research fellow, school of health sciences, tsukuba university of technology, ibaragi, japan
(original version published in june 2003, updated in august 2006)
there are two different categories of headaches: primary and secondary. A primary headache is an actual clinical condition and not a symptom caused by another disorder. Primary headaches include tension-type headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by other medical conditions such as sinus disease, allergies, dental disorders, head injury, or brain tumors.
Acupuncture benefits for headaches
Linde k, allais g, brinkhaus b, manheimer e, vickers a, white ar. Acupuncture for tension-type headache. Cochrane
database of systematic reviews 2009, issue 1. Art. No. : cd007587. Doi: 10. 1002/14651858. Cd007587. A review that looked at whether acupuncture is more effective than no prophylactic treatment/routine care only; more effective than ‘sham’ (placebo) acupuncture; or as effective as other interventions (physiotherapy, massage or relaxation) in reducing the frequency of headaches in patients with tension-type headache. It included a total of 11 trials with 2,317 adult patients with episodic and/or chronic tension-type. Outcome measures were the proportion of responders (at least 50% reduction in headache frequency), number of headache days, headache intensity (evaluated by visual analogue scale) and frequency of analgesic use. Two trials compared acupuncture to routine care only or treatment of acute headache only with a 3-month follow-up. Both found significant benefits of acupuncture over controls for the outcomes of responder rate, headache frequency, pain intensity and analgesic intake. Five trials compared acupuncture with a sham acupuncture intervention. A significant difference regarding response and number of headache days was found over a period of 6 months. Headache intensity was significantly reduced by acupuncture at 5-6 months after randomisation. Regarding frequency of analgesic intake, a significant effect of acupuncture over sham control was found only in the first 4 months after randomisation. Three of the 4 trials comparing acupuncture with physiotherapy, relaxation or a combination of massage and relaxation had methodological or reporting shortcomings. None of the 4 trials found a superiority of acupuncture. Better results were observed in the control groups for some outcomes, but these findings are difficult to interpret. It is unclear whether the efficacy of acupuncture is different between patients with episodic and those with chronic tension-type headache. The reviewers concluded that the data showed clinically relevant short-term benefits of adding acupuncture to routine care, a significant efficacy of ‘true’ acupuncture over sham interventions, but difficult to interpret results when acupuncture was compared with other non-pharmacological treatments. They suggested that acupuncture could be a useful treatment for episodic and chronic tension-type headache.
This method can effectively alleviate the pain of migraines through a mix of chosen localized points on the scalp joined with distal acupoints of the affected acupuncture meridians. Acupuncture for migraine headaches can direct yin and yang, reinforce qi and expel the pathogenic elements. These are some of the benefits of taking acupuncture therapy for migraines. Acupuncture seeks to reestablish the flow and balance of positive vitality all through your body. It additionally claims to evacuate negative energies that cause pain and torment.
How acupuncture can help
Klaus linde from the university of munich, germany and colleagues from universities and medical centres in italy, the us and uk carried out the research.
The work was published as two papers – acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis and acupuncture for tension-type headache – in the cochrane database of systematic reviews.
First published jan/feb 2013 acupuncture is practiced in many different forms, often conveniently distilled down to ‘traditional’ and ‘medical’ versions, but the distinctions are blurred and each of these itself embraces a multiplicity of styles. Typically patients with the same biomedical diagnosis would receive treatment that varied with their own individual presentation, as well as the practitioner’s background. Also this would evolve from one session to the next. For headache in particular the exact location of the symptoms is an important pointer to choosing the appropriate pathway and points to needle, both local (around the head and neck) and distal (in the limbs). In addition, traditional acupuncturists may differentiate by chinese medicine syndrome: identifying patterns from the symptoms and a wider range of physical and mental/emotional characteristics, and by radial pulse palpation and tongue inspection. There may be other layers of diagnosis and treatment too, according to the practitioner’s particular training style.
About the British Acupuncture Council
According to the british acupuncture council website ‘headaches affect 80% of the adult population in the uk and are often more prevalent in women’.
The term ‘tension type headache’ is used to describe both frequent and infrequent episodes as well as chronic tension-type headaches which can often develop into a migraine. Where headaches are typically quite mild in pain intensity and can last from minutes to days, migraines are usually more severe in pain and can last from 4 to 72 hours at any one time.
Balance positive and negative energies in your body in order to trigger a natural healing response. Stimulate the nerve endings nearby the needles which helps the release of hormones such as endorphines, fundamental to relief pain and induce feeling of pleasure and euphoria. Stimulate your immune system promoting a stronger general health
stimulate your circulatory system, facilitating the elimination of waste products of the metabolism and adequate nourishment of all body tissues. Reduce inflammation by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors
the british acupuncture council (bac) is the official regulatory body for acupuncture in the uk and it’s also known to be promoting high standards of evidence based treatments and up to date care. Evidence from the highest quality systematic review in scientific research show that there are clinically relevant benefits of adding acupuncture to routine care of headache and also a statistical advantage of ‘true’ acupuncture over sham interventions (placebo).
Reasons to have acupuncture
The chances that acupuncture will harm you are very low. That’s one of the reasons doctors say it’s ok to try it even though there’s sometimes limited proof that it helps arthritis. Make sure your practitioner uses new, sterile needles for each client, so there’s a lower chance of infection. Some people bruise or feel sore later at the spot where the needles went in. Some people should be more cautious before they get acupuncture. Ask your doctor about it if you:.
Acupuncture is widely known for its effectiveness in the treatment of pain. Its unique role in reducing suffering in patients experiencing pain is one of the main reasons it has become so popular around the world. The research is plentiful on the effects of acupuncture on specific painful conditions, as can be seen throughout this website. For acute pain, a systematic review of 13 trials found that acupuncture was more effective than both sham needling and injection with painkillers. 18.
Research on mechanisms for acupuncture
There is an increasing weight of evidence based research from western scientific research demonstrating the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating a wide variety of conditions. Evidence from the most up-to-date and highest quality systematic review showed that there are clinically relevant benefits of adding acupuncture to routine care. From a western medical perspective acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being. Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress (hui 2010).
Acupuncture on the NHS
Acupuncture is a treatment derived from ancient chinese medicine. Fine needles are inserted at certain sites in the body for therapeutic or preventative purposes. It is used in many nhs gp practices, as well as in most pain clinics and hospices in the uk. Acupuncture is often seen as a form of complementary or alternative medicine (cam).
Acupuncture is the technique of piercing the body with a solid needle for therapeutic purposes. Acupuncture was developed in china and the first textbook describing the use of acupuncture is thought to date back to about 200bc. Western interest in acupuncture grew in the 1970’s with president nixon’s visit to china and has steadily increased since then. The majority of acupuncture treatment in the uk is provided in private practice by professional (lay) acupuncturists who are not from an orthodox medical background. However, acupuncture is provided in almost all nhs pain clinics and by increasing numbers of gps and physiotherapists.
How acupuncture is performed
This trial is a multicenter prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trial. The central randomization is performed by research center of clinical epidemiology affiliated to peking university in china, which uses block randomization to generate the random allocation sequence and prepares a predetermined computer-made randomization opaque sealed envelopes. The opaque sealed envelopes are numbered consecutively and were connected into a strain. It is requested that each envelope should be separated from the strain and then be opened in sequence only after baseline period when the patient has been registered in the trial. Patient and assessors are blinded (blinded telephone interviewers) with regard to the acupuncture treatment administered. The trial is executed in the following five hospitals from june 2007 to june 2009: beijing traditional chinese medicine hospital affiliated to capital medical university, peking university third hospital, beijing tiantan hospital affiliated to capital medical university, huguosi hospital affiliated to the beijing university of chinese medicine and dongzhimen hospital affiliated to the beijing university of chinese medicine. Physicians who enroll participants and assessors who collect data in these five hospitals must have a 3-day training seminar concerning treatment modalities and trial’s documentation prior to the trial to make sure all practices at each of the five hospitals were the same. Periodic check-up contained the coincidence of the practices taken in every hospital.
Veterinarians who have received formal training can incorporate acupuncture into conventional practice settings. Basic or advanced veterinary acupuncture courses are available at the chi institute of traditional chinese veterinary medicine, or through the international veterinary acupuncture society. Before acupuncture, underlying pain or medical conditions are always diagnosed as part of conventional care. Once standard treatment measures are underway, acupuncture can be used as an integrative modality to reduce acute or chronic pain. For outpatients, it can be offered at the clinic, once or twice a week. For inpatients, it can be performed in the hospital, once a day before discharge. Practices that do not offer acupuncture can refer patients to veterinarians with cva (certified veterinary acupuncturist) credentials.
8 Acupressure Points To Get Rid Of Headaches
Headaches suck. Plain and simple. They are not fun, can ruin your day, and affect your work and home life. Acupuncture can be a great way to treat acute and chronic headaches, but how does an acupuncturist choose which points to use when treating headaches. Well, some of the points are on the face, head or neck, and it makes sense that points in these locations would help with a headache. Others are in the hands or feet which does not make as much sense until you realize that the meridians that the points are on, start or end in the face. Still others will treat an energetic organ system that might be imbalanced causing the headache. There are five, heavy hitters that are used to treat many kinds of headaches. You can even treat your own headache by using acupressure or massaging these points (or better yet, get your husband/wife boyfriend/girlfriend to do it!).
To relieve tension headaches, try acupressure on the ub10 points at the nape of your neck. For migraines, press the gb20 at the back of the skull where the neck muscles join the skull. For sinus headaches, press the bl2 pressure points at the end of the eyebrows above the bridge of the nose. For neck pain, press the li4 point at the groove behind your knuckles, between your ring finger and little finger. Headaches can cripple even a grownup, the excruciating pain rendering people unable to function when it’s especially bad. At the very least, it can cause a dull pain and hamper alertness or leave you fatigued or nauseous.
Pressure Points To Relieve Headaches
You can practice acupressure for migraine at home to relieve some of the pain, tightness, and abdominal issues that come with an attack. Pressure points for headaches are a safe, natural way to get rid of migraines , and free tool worth adding to your toolkit. With no side effects or big price tags, trying migraine pressure point is low-risk. Even better, with the following images and directions courtesy of pointfinder. Org, you can learn acupressure without leaving your home.
This information explains how to use acupressure to reduce pain and headaches. Acupressure is an ancient healing art that’s based on the traditional chinese medicine practice of acupuncture. With acupressure, you put pressure on specific places on your body. These places are called acupoints. Pressing these points can help release muscle tension and promote blood circulation. It can also relieve many common side effects of chemotherapy. You can do acupressure at home by using your fingers to apply pressure to different acupoints. Watch this video or follow the steps below to learn how to do acupressure to reduce pain and headaches.
Natural headache treatment using acupuncture
Following are the two safety measures you should know about before receiving acupuncture therapy for the treatment of headaches. If you are a cardiovascular patient with a pacemaker in the heart, then keep away from acupuncture therapy as the electrical pulses in the needles may disrupt the functioning of the pacemaker. If you are on blood-thinning prescription or if you suffer from bleeding disorders then the needle bruises may start to bleed badly and obstruct the treatment. Acupuncture for headaches is a highly effective natural treatment for all kinds of headaches. Ditch the toxic pain-killers and beat the pain in the sinuses by the administration of acupuncture therapy. The needles of acupuncture might seem a little scary but all that you will experience is a slight prick or perhaps nothing at all because the entire procedure is painless and is completely safe. However, it is advised that you do your homework and consult an expert acupuncturist before embracing the treatment.
With all of its conveniences, modern life can also give way to causes and conditions for tension headaches. Whether it’s stress, computer eye strain, overreliance on caffeine, poor desk ergonomics or “laptop neck,” so many of us find ourselves with the pain of chronic or episodic headaches. Conventional treatments like painkillers and even anti-depressants can provide temporary relief, but also with risks of dependency and substantial side effects. That is why so many people come to our washington dc acupuncture clinic: to seek a natural way to sustainably remedy their tension headaches.
Acupressure to Heal Migraine:
The gates of consciousness is a combination of two acupressure points that have many profound health benefits. These points can provide relief from headaches, tension, sinus issues, neck pain, irritability, and depression. Stimulation of these points also regulates circulation to the brain and is good for the overall immune system. A study published in the journal of vocational health studies found that when acupressure was applied at the fengchi point (gb20) 50 times for 28 days, migraine complaints decreased from 5 times a month to 3 times a month. No more complaints of nausea, hypochondrium pain, diarrhea, and insomnia were reported.
Knock-Off the Throbbing Pain by Using Acupuncture for Headaches
Traditional chinese medicine does not recognize migraines and recurring headaches as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of of techniques such as acupuncture, chinese herbs, tui-na massage, and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, your diagnosis and treatment will depend on a number of variables: is the headache behind your eyes and temples, or is it located more on the top of your head? when do your headaches occur (i. E. Night, morning, after eating)? do you find that a cold compress or a dark room can alleviate some of the pain? do you describe the pain as dull and throbbing, or sharp and piercing?.
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headache is one of the most common medical complaints. There’s a few different types of headaches, and a whole bunch of common and not-so common causes. I’d be prepared to bet that everybody reading this has experienced one themselves, so if there’s a tight band of iron being slowly tightened around your temples while evil beings use your skull for xylophone practise, let’s talk about acupuncture for headache. Headaches are – wait for it – when your head hurts. The pain can be dull, sharp, throbbing, tight, fixed, radiating. They can come on suddenly and last an hour or two; or come on slow and hang around for days.
Does acupuncture actually treat headaches and pain?
A recently published study from china found that acupuncture reduced the frequency of migraines among 147 patients who had a history of migraine headaches without aura (visual and sensory changes that can precede them). The study compared the effectiveness of real acupuncture to sham acupuncture (where the needles are placed at non-acupuncture points and do not penetrate the skin) and to the usual care for prevention of migraines. None of the patients had received acupuncture before. All were told not to take any painkillers or use any other headache treatments for the duration of the study. They were randomly assigned to receive either 20 sessions of real acupuncture, 20 sessions of sham acupuncture, or usual care including advice on lifestyle and self-management over an eight-week period. During the 12 weeks following these interventions, the researchers compared changes in migraine days and migraine attacks among the patients. They found that real acupuncture resulted in a greater reduction of migraine days (3. 9 v. 2. 2) at weeks 13 to 20 and fewer migraine attacks (2. 3 v. 1. 6) at weeks 17 to 20, compared to those in the sham acupuncture group. The team also reported that sham acupuncture led to a minor reduction in migraines compared to the usual care (1. 6 v. 0. 4) during weeks 17 to 20 with a slightly decreasing trend over this period.
Acupuncture is a form of complementary or alternative medicine, and many of my patients ask about it. It first gained recognition in the united states in 1971 when a well-known new york times columnist, james reston, developed appendicitis on a trip to china. His pain following surgery was treated not with conventional pain medicines but with acupuncture. Reston reported that his pain had been completely relieved by acupuncture. His standing and credibility caused many people to take acupuncture seriously. Acupuncture has long been used to treat headaches. But until recently, there hadn’t been strong evidence to support its use for headache pain. Two large scientific reviews have changed that. One review found that acupuncture may help people with episodic or chronic tension headaches. The other review found that acupuncture may prevent migraine headaches as well as or better than medications.
How much time does it take to treat a headache through acupuncture?
Acupuncture has a long history as part of chinese medicine. In western countries it is now one of the major complementary therapies, with lifetime use in adult populations as high as 34%. 1 headache is one of the more common presenting conditions in acupuncture general practice2 and use of the therapy by headache sufferers in tertiary care has been reported at 58% in german and austrian out-patient clinics. 3acupuncture is practiced in many different forms, often conveniently distilled down to ‘traditional’ and ‘medical’ versions, but the distinctions are blurred and each of these itself embraces a multiplicity of styles. Typically patients with the same biomedical diagnosis would receive treatment that varied with their own individual presentation, as well as the practitioner’s background. Also this would evolve from one session to the next. For headache in particular the exact location of the symptoms is an important pointer to choosing the appropriate pathway and points to needle, both local (around the head and neck) and distal (in the limbs). In addition, traditional acupuncturists may differentiate by chinese medicine syndrome: identifying patterns from the symptoms and a wider range of physical and mental/emotional characteristics, and by radial pulse palpation and tongue inspection. There may be other layers of diagnosis and treatment too, according to the practitioner’s particular training style. Taking migraine as an example, there has been a consistent focus from ancient to modern times on the gallbladder channel, which runs over the lateral and postero-lateral aspects of the body from head to foot. The most frequently cited point for migraine in published protocols, western and chinese, is gb20, lying in the hollow inferior to the occiput and lateral to the trapezius. Of the five most popular points in chinese migraine trials three were on the head/neck and one each on the hand and foot;4 however, treatments in normal practice may not use local points at all (see figure 1). Some styles even place the main emphasis on the patient’s underlying constitutional characteristics and don’t respond directly to the symptoms.
By kirsten m. Lagatree
although acupuncture, a part of traditional chinese medicine (tcm), is one of the oldest healing arts in the world, it was not recognized by the english-speaking world, nor was it regulated in the us, until journalist james reston returned from china and wrote about his experience in a new york times article, “ now, about my operation in peking” back in 1971. Since that time, more and more americans—and their physicians—have been finding acupuncture a useful tool, especially for back and neck pain, osteoarthritis/knee pain, and headaches, including migraines. Acupuncture also shows promise as a complementary therapy to control symptoms in the treatment of cancer. In fact, western doctors have used acupuncture to treat the pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
What are the side effects and shortcomings of using acupuncture for headaches?
Linde k et al. Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis. Cochrane database of systematic reviews 2009 issue 1. Art. No. : cd001218. Doi: 10. 1002/14651858. Cd001218. Pub2. A review of 22 trials that investigated whether acupuncture is effective for the prevention of migraine attacks. Patients who received acupuncture had fewer headaches than those given basic care. ‘true’ acupuncture and sham acupuncture seemed to be similarly effective. When acupuncture was compared to proven drug treatment, patients receiving acupuncture tended to report more improvement and fewer side effects. Overall, migraine patients benefited from acupuncture, and it was at least as effective as, or possibly more effective than, drug treatment, with fewer adverse effects.
Can acupuncture reduce the frequency of headaches or migraines? the available evidence suggests that it can, at least in the short-term. Three months after starting acupuncture treatment, frequent headache or migraine sufferers experienced significantly fewer headache days than those receiving routine care, treatment with ‘fake’ acupuncture, or treatment with preventative drugs. Both systematic reviews also found that acupuncture was safe and well tolerated. Overall, people receiving acupuncture reported fewer side effects and were less likely to drop out of the studies than those receiving drugs (6;7).
1. How to get rid of Tension Headaches?
Acupuncture has a long tradition of use for the treatment of many pain conditions, including headache. Its effectiveness has been studied mainly for primary headaches, particularly for migraine and tension-type headache (tth). Traditional chinese medicine (tcm) has two diagnostic frameworks for headaches: meridian diagnoses, based on the location of the pain and on the meridians (or channels) that pass through it; syndrome diagnoses, dependent on external or internal factors and on the characteristics of the pain. The four meridians involved in headache are shaoyang (te-gb channels, on the temporal sides of the head); taiyang (si-bl channels, occiput); yangming (li-st channels, forehead) and jueyin (pc-lr channels, vertex). The syndromes may be due to excess or deficit. Very generally, the excess syndromes correspond in the majority of cases to migraine and the deficit syndromes to tth. Acupuncture is a complex intervention, which is also characterized by a close interaction between patient and therapist. The complicated system of tcm classification of headaches has frequently generated great diversity among the various therapeutic approaches used in the different studies on acupuncture in headache treatment. Despite these differences, the recent cochrane systematic reviews on acupuncture in migraine and in tth suggest that acupuncture is an effective and valuable option for patients suffering from migraine or frequent tth. Moreover, acupuncture seems to be a cost-effective treatment.
2. How to use acupuncture for cluster headaches?
Practices searched their databases to identify potential participants. General practitioners then sent letters to suitable patients, providing information about the trial. A researcher at the study centre conducted recruitment interviews, eligibility screening, and baseline assessment by telephone. Patients’ conditions were diagnosed as migraine or tension-type headache, following criteria of the international headache society (ihs). 11 patients aged 18-65 and who reported an average of at least two headaches per month were eligible. Patients were excluded for any of the following: onset of headache disorder less than one year before or at age 50 or older; pregnancy; malignancy; cluster headache (ihs code 3); suspicion that headache disorder had specific aetiology (ihs code 5-11); cranial neuralgias (ihs code 12); and acupuncture treatment in the previous 12 months. Eligible patients completed a baseline headache diary for four weeks. Patients who provided written informed consent, had a mean weekly baseline headache score of 8. 75 or more, and completed at least 75% of the baseline diary were randomised to a policy of “use acupuncture” or “avoid acupuncture. ” given a power of 90% and an α of 5%, we estimated that we would require 288 evaluable patients to detect a reduction in headache score of 35% in the acupuncture group, compared with 20% in controls. We assumed a dropout rate of about 25% and planned to randomise 400 patients.
Traditional chinese medicine (tcm) has a very consistent and philosophically-based
framework for headache etiology, physiology, diagnosis and treatment strategy. Acupuncture, as an effective treatment modality, has been applied to headaches
from the earliest beginnings of tcm. 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, high
blood pressure or sleeping disorders. The greatest advantage of acupuncture.
3. How to use acupuncture for Sinus Headaches?
Both western medicine and traditional chinese medicine recognize two types of headaches: primary and secondary. A primary headache is a clinical illness, not a symptom of another disorder, and includes tension headaches, cluster headaches, and migraine headaches. Headaches are also caused by other factors such as hangovers, or other medical conditions such as sinus disease, allergies, dental disorders, head injury or brain tumors. Acupuncture is used to effectively treat the primary headaches, namely tension and migraine, which are the most frequent.twelve trials (11 included in the previous version and one newly identified) with 2349 participants (median 56, range 10 to 1265) met the inclusion criteria. Acupuncture was compared with routine care or treatment of acute headaches only in two large trials (1265 and 207 participants), but they had quite different baseline headache frequency and management in the control groups. Neither trial was blinded but trial quality was otherwise high (low risk of bias ). While effect size estimates of the two trials differed considerably, the proportion of participants experiencing at least 50% reduction of headache frequency was much higher in groups receiving acupuncture than in control groups (moderate quality evidence; trial 1: 302/629 (48%) versus 121/636 (19%); risk ratio ( rr ) 2. 5; 95% confidence interval ( ci ) 2. 1 to 3. 0; trial 2: 60/132 (45%) versus 3/75 (4%); rr 11; 95% ci 3. 7 to 35). Long-term effects (beyond four months) were not investigated.
Acupuncture for headaches has been around for more than two thousand years (and still counting!) the descriptions in the earliest chinese medicine texts involve fine differentiations between various locations of headaches, the type of pain suffered (whether stabbing, boring, pressure) and whether or not the headaches are associated with other symptoms. So migraines, chronic daily headaches, cluster headaches, will be analysed within a traditional acupuncture framework in order to understand your condition.