We have all had to deal with a headache or migraine at one point of our lives. Anyone who has felt the debilitating pain of a migraine or headache will tell you just how severe they can get. The pain can stop you from living your day as planned and force you to bed. Such migraines and headaches affect all sorts of people from all walks of life. Headaches can cause a lot of pain but this is nothing compared to the migraine. Aside from being more painful than the common headache we experience from time to time, a migraine progresses through stages, increasing in severity. Women are affected by migraines three times more than men.
The exciting news is that the Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine that we practice at our Plantation Florida location has had tremendous success alleviating the frequency, duration and intensity of both headache and migraine. We are confident that it can help you reduce your pain as well. Before we discuss more about our holistic treatment methods let’s explore the symptoms, causes and conventional treatments for this condition.
Common Symptoms and Types of Migraines and Headaches
Tension headaches are the most common types of headaches most people experience. The affected person feels pain similar to that of a rubber band wrapped tightly around the head. The pain can affect one or both sides of the head.
Migraines don’t occur too often but have a bigger effect than tension headaches. The normal headache is bearable and most people are able to ignore the pain and go about their day as normal. A migraine on the other hand is much more severe and often sends the person to bed as they are unable to do anything while in pain.
The main difference between migraines and headaches is that the former is accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, nausea and sensitivity to noise and light. People affected by such can experience the pain for 4 to 72 hours.
Cluster headaches are another type of headaches that keeps recurring through a month or two. Cluster headaches occur in clusters hence the name. They may be accompanied by symptoms such as bloodshot eyes and a runny or blocked nose. Such headaches are usually felt around the eyes, causing excruciating pain in this region.
Common causes for Migraines and Headaches
A night of drinking can cause a migraine the next morning. The morning after a drinking spree can result in a raging headache, general body weakness and nausea among other symptoms. Temporomandibular disorders are also part of the reason you may be suffering from a headache as well as colds and flu.
Women can also experience headaches due to imbalances in hormone levels especially when on their menstrual period. In other cases, the headaches may occur all through the cycle. Some types of contraceptive pills also have headaches as a side effect. Headaches can also occur due to menopause or pregnancy.
Trauma to the head can also cause such headaches. When the head is hit hard, the pain may subside but later on, the impact causes headaches. Too many prescription drugs can also cause headaches. Sleep apnea, food and chemical sensitivities, sinusitis and carbon monoxide poisoning can also cause the head to ache.
Western Medical Remedies for Migraines and Headaches
Treatment for headaches takes a two-pronged approach. First, there are pain relievers followed secondly by preventive medication. Pain relievers can be bought over the counter. They can also be called abortive treatment as they are taken when the attack happens so as to stop it. There are two types of pain relievers; non-specific and migraine-specific treatments. One example of non-specific treatments is analgesics such as opiates, aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Adjunctive therapies such as sedatives and anti-emetics can also be used. Migraine-specific pain relievers include triptans and ergotamine.
Preventive medication is used to reduce the frequency of headaches and migraines. There are five medications which have been approved for use in this way;
- Topiramate branded as Topamax
- Timolol branded and Blocarden
- Propranolol branded as Inderal
- Divalproex branded as Depakote
- Onabotulinum Toxin Type A branded as Botox. This medication is only recommended for migraines that occur more than 15 times in a month.
All these medications are all as effective as can be. However, we have to bear the side effects once we use them. The main setback with conventional medicine is the side effects that patients have to deal with such as muscle weakness, dizzy spells, weight gain and nausea.
How to Treat Headaches and Migraines using Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Most people are used to acupuncture as a form of relaxation therapy because it has such benefits. However, in this case, the thin acupuncture needles are inserted painlessly below the skin to relieve headaches. Such practices have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to relieve all sorts of pain.
The acupuncturist finds the underlying reason (the root cause) for your headaches and inserts the needles in appropriate sections of the body. These acupuncture points are spread all across the body and are aligned to energy points all over the body. The aim of acupuncture is to restore the imbalance in the body that causes the headaches. Acupuncture is known to reduce the severity of pain as well as frequency of attacks.
Research backing the use of Acupuncture to Treat Headaches and Migraines
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal shows acupuncture to be a practical treatment for headaches. The study used 500 adult participants who had suffered recurrent headaches through the last 6-8 months. A large percentage of participants reported reduced symptoms as well as intensity of headaches. Frequency of headaches also reduced as a result of treatment.
The British Acupuncture Council has recommended acupuncture as a treatment for headaches and migraines. The council also stated that acupuncture works better in treating headaches than conventional medicine. Acupuncture therapy can also reduce inflammation aside from lowering pain levels.
Come to our Plantation Florida location to get the best treatment for your headache or migraine. Our acupuncture physicians are well versed in holistic medical treatments that identify the root cause of your condition, allowing us to produce longer lasting results to keep you out of pain. Call us today for your free consultation.