Find out from Julie Kelham how acupuncture can help treat the root cause of migraines
Effect of migraines
Migraines result in moderate to severe pain and are a complex condition that can cause many symptoms. These include throbbing pain, often located on one side and/or behind the eye, visual disturbances, light/sound/smell sensitivity, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms can vary in each individual and migraines can last anything from 4 hours up to 72 hours.
If you experience chronic headaches and/or migraines then you know how debilitating they can be and the huge impact they have on your wellbeing, work and personal life.
“Acupuncture is one of the very best treatments for preventing migraines, even recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).” (ACU, Autumn 2017)
So how can acupuncture help?
Acupuncture can address the underlying disharmony in your body and can treat the root cause of your migraine rather than just focusing on symptomatic treatment. The root cause can be anything from a constitutional issue that is linked with your specific physical and psychological make up, emotional stress, overwork, irregular diet, childbirth, trauma, environmental factors or related to the menstrual cycle or the menopause.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, migraines can often be due to disharmony in the Liver and Stomach energy. As such, they are viewed as a mixed condition, in that there is a root cause of a deficient nature resulting in the full symptoms flaring up.
The beauty of Chinese medicine is that your diagnosis and treatment will be specific to your experience and symptoms.
As an acupuncturist, I will talk through with you the type of pain you experience, the onset and what was happening around that time, where the pain is located, any associated symptoms, what makes the pain better or worse, and any lifestyle and dietary factors that may be exacerbating your migraines.
Migraine-type headaches are sometimes seen as having an emotional cause in Chinese Medicine such as ongoing anger, frustration, resentment and worry.
Acupuncture can help to:
- Reduce swelling and inflammation
- Regulate blood flow
- Release the body’s own pain-relieving chemicals and endorphins
- Regulate hormones (if migraines are related to the menstrual cycle or menopause)
- Stimulate nerve fibres and influence the pain response through the brain and spinal cord
- Reduce the effects of stress on the body and relieve muscle tension in the upper back and neck
- Address the root cause of your migraines (for example, by nourishing your blood and Qi and moving energy blockages caused by emotional stress); supporting and nourishing you at this level can help reduce the regularity and severity of your migraines.
“I have suffered from migraines for many years since I was young and I have tried many different ways to deal with them. Previously, I would suffer with on average one severe migraine per month, which was very disruptive to my work and home life. A friend recommended acupuncture as a possible method to prevent migraines. Acupuncture is a positive and natural method to prevent the attacks and I have seen a clear improvement over the past couple of years and would recommend it to anyone.“ B.S., Bristol
If you would like to discuss acupuncture treatment for your migraines, I am happy for you to give me a call on 07950 378250 to answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, you can call the Alma Vale reception to book an appointment.
For information on how other therapies can help, see the other articles in this series to mark Migraine Awareness Week:
- On Monday, our massage therapist Piia Laakso shares how her specific approach can help both prevent migraine and relieve the pain of existing headaches
- Yesterday, Orla Kirby shares how hypnotherapy can help your body treat migraines with its own natural resources
- On Thursday: Julie Kelham explains how acupuncture can help treat the root cause of migraines
- On Friday: Rowan Jamal looks at the research evidence on how massage helps treat migraine, and in particular looks at the benefits of aromatherapy