Although it is relatively new to Western medicine, acupuncture has been used to improve circulation and reduce inflammation in the body for more than 2,000 years and is an increasingly common prescription for migraine pain and management. It can be an effective supplement or complement to other therapies, by helping to improve circulation in the body, boosting its immune and nervous systems.
Before getting into the specifics on how does acupuncture help migraines, we will discuss what a migraine is and its symptoms.
What Is A Migraine?
A migraine is an intense headache that is typically concentrated on one side of the head and accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and/or sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines may cause throbbing, pain, pressure or what feels like pulsing in the head, and without treatment, migraines can last hours or even days.
What’s the difference between a headache and a migraine?
Migraines are a type of headache – but most often are much more severe, last longer, and result in other physical discomforts. Some people will even experience migraines without headache.
Migraines and cluster headaches are also separate – cluster headaches, while still usually felt on one side of the head, may be accompanied by watery eyes and a runny nose. They may last weeks to a month, or happen in intervals. Migraines tend to be more acute, lasting hours to days, and are coupled with nausea, sensitivity to light, and vomiting.
While it can be difficult to distinguish a migraine headache from a traditional headache, recognizing the difference can lead to faster relief, more effective treatments, and even prevention of future headaches. The following symptoms may indicate that you are suffering from a migraine:
- A pulsing sensation through the head, face or neck
- Dull to throbbing pain on one side of the head
- Sensitivity to light, sound, smell or aura
- Sensitivity to touch
- Distorted vision
- Seeing flashing lights or colored spots
- Acute, regular, severe or lasting headache
- Nausea and/or vomiting (GI distress)
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, unsteadiness or a feeling sick to your stomach
- Feelings of irritability
If you are not sure if you are experiencing a headache or migraine, you may want to take advantage of a free consultation with a health care professional at Aligned Modern Health for an accurate assessment.
What Causes Migraines
While the causes of frequent migraines aren’t completely understood or defined, a number of migraine triggers may contribute to the onset of pain and discomfort:
Hormonal Changes or Triggers
- Headaches (and, by proxy) migraines can result from hormonal swings in the body as they disrupt the body’s natural, steady state composition.
- Prolactin, melatonin and cortisol levels, specifically, can influence migraines.
- Hormonal medications, in addition to prescription drugs like birth control, may also trigger or worsen migraines.
- If a family member experiences or has experienced migraines, you may be predisposed to developing them, too.
- Migraines can begin at any age but often begin in adolescence or when hormonal changes first start to occur.
- Symptoms may be most severe in your 30s then steadily decline.
- Women develop migraines three times more often than men, likely due to the regular hormonal triggers females experience every month. Migraines may occur before menstruation or shortly after as a sign of the body’s digression and regulation.
- Pregnancy hormones may also be responsible for migraines, particularly during the early stages. Symptoms often lessen or disappear as the body adjusts, though may increase again after the baby is born.
- However, younger, pre-pubescent boys are more likely to experience migraines than young women.
- One of the most common yet misunderstood causes of migraines is stress and tension. Tension headaches can easily morph into migraines if not addressed, diagnosed or treated.
- More than 70% of people report stress-induced migraines.
- Studies show that everyday stress, even more than drastic life changes like moving, changing jobs or losing a loved one, can be a big factor in developing migraines.
- hose suffering from migraines also cite sleep deprivation, often stress-induced.
Diet and Lifestyle
- Some experts suggest chocolate may trigger migraines because it contains the amino acid tyramine. More likely, it may be a correlation associated with hormonal changes and cravings.
- Eyestrain, from staring at a computer screen all day, may also trigger headaches or migraines, as well as blurred vision, stiff neck and tight shoulders.
- Dysfunction in the autoimmune system may affect the body’s ability to manage stress.
Migraine Relief and Treatment
By regulating bodily imbalances and blood flow, acupuncture can be as successful as prescription drugs in reducing, preventing and, in some cases, completely halting migraines. Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of tiny needles into specific areas of the body, which signals the brain to send blood, hormones, and pain killing responders to the affected area. In turn, the immune system responds and helps the body heal itself.
If your body is feeling fatigued, disoriented, under extreme stress or exhausted by the physical discomforts of migraines, acupuncture is an effective treatment.
Get The Migraine Relief You Need At Aligned Modern Health In Chicago
Our acupuncturists at Aligned Modern Health bring together the best of traditional therapies and evidenced-based medicine using the latest science and technology available. Working as industry leaders, our acupuncturists are top-rated and proud to provide unparalleled health care in noninvasive, comprehensive migraine treatment.
Please fill out the form to request an appointment at our health and wellness center for the service and location of your preference. We try to get back to all requests as quickly as possible. If you need immediate assistance, please call 773-598-4387.