Help for Headaches and Migraines

A big, old headache
crawls inside my forehead then
settles for the day.

–  Haiku by Rachel Dickinson –

Almost everyone will experience an occasional headache.  However, when they recur or disrupt normal day to day life, headaches may indicate a chronic imbalance that requires intervention.

Typically, we seek relief by reaching for drugs for fast pain relief. However, common headache medication does not address the root cause, and may cause unwanted side effects if taken for an extended time.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
is a safe, effective, drug-free way
to relieve chronic headache and migraine pain
.
There are two phases of treatment:  during a headache, and between episodes.  Treatment during a headache aims to stop the pain immediately.  Treatment between episodes addresses the underlying root cause, which changes the pattern, leading to long-term cessation of symptoms.

Common Causes of Headaches & Migraines

  • Trigger points, musculoskeletal imbalances
  • Trauma, post-concussion syndrome
  • Stress and where it is held in the body
  • Overwork, low energy
  • Emotional factors, depression
  • Diet, dehydration
  • Imbalance of mouth and gut bacteria
  • Changes in weather or barometric pressure
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Prescription meds
  • Strong smells

Migraines

More than 5% of Canadians have been diagnosed with migraines.  Migraines are disabling, recurring headaches frequently on just one side of the head.
Some characteristics of chronic migraines include:
– Frequent, severe, pulsating headaches
– with stomach upset (nausea, vomiting)
– and sensitivity to light and sound.
– Duration of a few hours to several days.
TCM addresses the complexities of migraines and headaches by addressing the Pattern of Disharmony.

Patterns of Disharmony

Clinically, a TCM practitioner relies on specific details to analyze what’s happening inside the body. Headaches and migraines are diagnosed according to onset time, location, pain characteristics and general constitution.  Information about the headache helps establish the underlying Patterns of Disharmony and guides the subsequent treatment plan. The treatment plan always includes recommendations for self-care, and how to take control of the triggers.

How Acupuncture and TCM helps:

  • Headaches can usually be relieved in one acupuncture session.
  • Acupuncture reduces stress and anxiety immediately.
  • Migraines and headaches can be complicated.  Acupuncture and TCM address and resolve the underlying Pattern of Disharmony, bringing the body as a whole back into harmony.
  • Clinical research has shown that acupuncture can be a valuable remedy for migraines and headaches.
  • Findings in one study were 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 … a prophylactic drug, and to three and a half days in those receiving true acupuncture”.  To read more:   http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub3/full

 

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