Curing a migraine with needles

By penny | February 27, 2013
Curing a migraine with needles

The word 'migraine' is derived from the Greek word ‘hemikrania’, which in itself is a combination of two separate words, 'hemi', meaning 'half' and 'krania', meaning 'skull'. Thus, a migraine is essentially pain on one side of the head. While migraines mostly affect one side of the head, this may not always be the case. You could have a migraine that affects both parts of the skull as well.

What is a migraine?

Migraines are characterized by a throbbing headache that lasts anywhere from two hours to several days. It can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and photo phobia or sensitivity to light. Migraines differ from a headache in that they are more severe and are a disorder of the central nervous system, unlike headaches that are simply a pain caused due to a number of reasons from illness to high blood pressure.

Migraines can be both short-term as well as chronic. Chronic migraines are migraines that occur for at least 15 days in a month (for at least 3 months). These are usually more complicated, and impact the quality of life dramatically. In adults, migraines are more common in women than in men; however, in children in the preadolescence stage, migraines tend to be more common in boys than in girls.

What causes migraines?

While there are a number of theories as to why migraines are caused, starting from the food we eat to genetics, the real reason for migraines is not known. However, keeping a track of our habits such as the food we eat and our other routines on the day that we have a migraine attack can possibly explain what triggers it in the first place.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a migraine is caused due to excess flow of Qi or the life force that flows in the body, resulting in a pounding headache. Acupuncture uses this theory to restore the balance and reduce migraines through needles inserted at points in the body, through which the qi flows, called meridians.

Managing migraines

A person suffering from a migraine will want to retreat into a dark and quiet room without noise and light. Most often, sleep is the only relief from migraines. There are many drugs available and prescribed for managing migraines. Preventive medication such as topiramate and timolol and analgesics such as triptans and ergotamines are also commonly used in the prevention and management of migraines.

However, all of these medications manage only the symptoms of migraines and not the root cause of migraines, making taking them in the long run more harmful than beneficial. Thus, alternative therapies such as acupuncture for migraines are believed to be more beneficial as this natural treatment has no side effects.

Acupuncture for migraines

Although acupuncture according to medical research is only as effective as other forms of treatment, many people who have tried this type of therapy have found that their incidences and severity of migraines have come down considerably. For most acupuncture for migraines not only works, it is a cost-effective treatment as well. Usually, a few sessions are needed to see a difference. Most sessions are conducted either between migraines or during migraines. The number of sessions depends on each individual case, with the time duration between the sessions, gradually lengthening as per response to the therapy.

While most people experience almost instant relief, energy levels after acupuncture can vary from person to person, with some people feeling extremely sleepy to others feeling extremely energetic after a session. Some acupuncture points are not safe while pregnant, so if you are pregnant tell your acupuncture specialist as he/she may want to avoid certain treatment options during that time.

References

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