• Acupuncture for the treatment and prevention of headache and migraine

    Acupuncture for the treatment and prevention of headache and migraine

    Migraine – What is it?

    A huge portion of the population, males and females alike suffer from quite painful, very uncomfortable and sometimes even debilitating headaches which are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, noise, and smell.

    This particular type of headache is called “migraine”.

    These throbbing headaches usually occur on only one side of the head, although the pain can shift from one side of the head to the other, or can occur on both sides at the same time.

    A migraine typically lasts 4 to 24 hours but in some cases can last up to 3 days. Some people have symptoms that occur before a headache starts, such as visual disturbances (also known as “aura”).

    Most people know how difficult it is to cope with a “normal” headache and for those who suffer from “full blown” migraines life can be a struggle. Western medicine treatment usually includes long-term medication in order to prevent a migraine from occurring or to stop a migraine once it begins.

    For most migraine sufferers there is no recognizable pattern to the onset – it can start anywhere, at any time.

    In some cases, women notice a higher incidence of migraines around certain stages of the menstrual cycle because of the hormonal changes. Migraine is a condition very particular to the individual and therefore the treatment must reflect this.

    Benefits of Chinese Medicine and acupuncture treatment

    Several medical studies have been published showing that TCM (particularly acupuncture) is very effective for migraine prevention. In June 2016, a Cochrane Review was published titled: “Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine”.

    The objective was “to investigate whether acupuncture is a) more effective than no prophylactic treatment/routine care only; b) more effective than sham (placebo) acupuncture; and c) as effective as prophylactic treatment with drugs in reducing headache frequency in adults with episodic migraine.”

    This review concluded that: “the available evidence suggests that adding acupuncture to symptomatic treatment of attacks reduces the frequency of headaches. The available trials also suggest that acupuncture may be at least similarly effective as treatment with prophylactic drugs. Acupuncture can be considered a treatment option for patients willing to undergo this treatment.

    The bottom line about this review was that “the available evidence suggests that a course of acupuncture consisting of at least six treatment sessions can be a valuable option for people with migraine.

    Our findings about the number of days with migraine per month can be summarized as follows. If people have six days with migraine per month on average before starting treatment, this would be reduced to five days in people receiving only usual care, to four days in those receiving fake acupuncture or a prophylactic drug, and to three and a half days in those receiving true acupuncture.

    The acupuncture treatment is aimed at resolving the underlying problems that may be the trigger or the contributing factor to the migraine occurrence. Prevention is always the key factor with TCM, but for those visiting the clinic during the migraine attack, they will find that especially acupuncture can have effective results for reducing the pain.

    Acupuncture treats migraines by relieving the pain and tension, therefore relaxing the body and:

    ☰ Provides effective pain relief

    ☱ Harmonizes blood circulation in the body – particularly the head

    ☲ Alleviates nausea

    ☳  Improves the quality of life

    ☴  Decreases the use of medication

    ☵  Has no side effects

    ☶  Reduces “sick days” off work / school

    ☷  Long lasting results

    Migraine Association of Ireland

    migraine association of irelandThe The Migraine Association of Ireland (MAI) is a registered charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for the 12-15% of our population who suffer from migraine.

    The aim of the MAI is to provide information, reassurance and support to migraine sufferers and those with any other headache disorders.

    Information is also on offer to the families and friends of migraineurs and to medical professionals.

    The MAI also raises awareness of migraine throughout Irish society in general, as well as in the health professional sector.

    Contact: 01 8941280 or 01 8941281

    E-mail: info@migraine.ie

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