It’s Migraine Awareness week! So we’ve taken the time to pull together some facts, information and videos to tell you more about Migraines, what they are, and what help you can get for them.
For those of you that suffer with migraines, you know it’s more than just a headache. Migraine is a complex neurological condition, which can affect the whole body and can result in many symptoms, sometimes without a headache at all. The symptoms vary for each person and can include:
- Visual disturbances (flashing lights, blind spots in the vision, zig zag patterns and many more)
- Debilitating head pain
- Pins and needles
- Numbness in the limbs
- And even paralysis
What is a migraine?
1 in 7 people in the UK suffer from migraine.
190,000 migraine attacks happen every day in the UK.
In the UK, migraine is more prevalent than asthma, epilepsy and diabetes combines.
Migraine affects twice as many women as men.
There is no cure for migraines.
A migraine attack can last for between 4 and 72 hours.
Sufferers experience an average of 13 attacks each year.
How can complementary treatments help?
In 2015 the NICE guidelines detailed the use of acupuncture as a treatment option for headache and migraine. This is particularly for those who had found both topiramate and propanolol medication unsuitable and ineffective. Its treatment consists of small fine sterile needles being inserted into your skin at certain points; they may be left in for just a few seconds or for several minutes.
Acupuncture can help in the treatment of migraine by:
- Providing pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurochumoral factors and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Zhao 2008, Zijlstra 2003, Pomeranz, 1987)
- Reducing inflammation – by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003).
- Reducing the degree of cortical spreading depression (an electrical wave in the brain associated with migraine) and plasma levels of calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P (both implicated in the pathophysiology of migraine) (Shi 2010).
- Modulating extracranial and intracranial blood flow (Park 2009).
- Affecting serotonin (5-hydroxytriptamine) levels in the brain (Zhong 2007). (Serotonin may be linked to the initiation of migraines; 5-HT agonists (triptans) are used against acute attacks.)
Here, migraine sufferers Tina and Chris talk about how acupuncture helped alleviate migraine, whilst David Millard MBAcC offers some insight into the treatment:
Reflexology clinics are commonly seeing patients with complaints of muscle pain, pre-menstrual syndrome and headaches. Reflexology is not so much reactive as it is preventative. This means that patients who live with chronic migraine conditions can certainly benefit from this alternative treatment for the purpose of preventing cephalalgia episodes.
Many reflexology practitioners encourage their patients to learn about the discipline so that they can treat themselves at home. The key to reflexology is to apply acupressure to certain points that can be found in our hands and feet.
Contact the Alma Vale Centre
For more information about how our therapies could support you, please contact us on:
0117 377 1186