Headaches / Migraines

Both western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine recognize two categories of headaches: primary and secondary. A primary headache is a clinical condition, not a symptom of another disorder. Primary headaches include tension headaches, migraines and cluster headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by other medical conditions such as sinus disease, allergies, dental disorders, head injury or brain tumors. Acupuncture is used to effectively treat primary headaches, namely tension and migraine, which are the most common

Who suffers from headaches?

Nearly everyone will suffer a headache at some point in time. They are one of the most common physical complaints that prompt people to treat themselves or seek professional assistance. Some estimates say that up to 50 million Americans suffer from sever, long-lasting, recurring headaches. While most headaches are not necessarily symptomatic of another condition, they can be very distracting and account for significant amounts of time lost from work.

What can acupuncture do for headaches?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a very consistent and philosophically-based framework for headache etiology, physiology, diagnosis and treatment strategy. Acupuncture, as an effective treatment modality, has been applied to headaches from the earliest beginnings of TCM.

Acupuncture is not only effective for migraine headaches, but also works very well with tension headaches, cluster headaches, post-traumatic headaches, and disease-related headaches that might be due to sinus problems, high blood pressure or sleeping disorders. The greatest advantage of acupuncture over Western medicine is that it does virtually no harm. Some medications can have serious side effects and can (in some instances) actually lead to patients experiencing a “rebound” headache. Unlike synthetic drugs, acupuncture has virtually no side effects, and the procedures for treating headaches are much less invasive with acupuncture than with surgery.

References

  • Carlsson J, Fahlcrantz A, Augustinsson LE. Muscle tenderness in tension headache treated with acupuncture or physiotherapy. Cephalalgia 1990;10:131-141.
  • Hesse J, Mogelvang B, Simonsen H. Acupuncture versus metoprolol in migraine prophylaxis: a randomized trial of trigger point inactivation. J Internal Med 1994;235:451-456.
  • Vincent CA. A controlled trial of the treatment of migraine by acupuncture. Clin J Pain 1989;5:305-312.
  • Vincent CA. The treatment of tension headache by acupuncture: a controlled single-case design with time series analysis. J Psychosomatic Res 1990;34:553-561.
  • Zhang L, Li L. 202 cases of headache treated with electroacupuncture. J Tradit Chin Med 1995;15(2):124-126.

 

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