Struggling with Migraines? Acupuncture Could Help Ease Your Pain
Migraines are more than just headaches. The condition causes excruciating pain, nausea and dizziness, and may make your eyes so sensitive that retreating to a dark room is the only option. Although pain medication can be helpful for some people, others can't tolerate it or find that it doesn't help much. Luckily, acupuncture offers a natural, effective way to control your migraine pain.
Acupuncture Eases Migraine Pain
Over-the-counter pain relievers may not be very helpful if you have a migraine. Although prescription medications may dull the pain, they often cause unpleasant side effects, like nausea. When you're already feeling sick, the last thing you want to do is take a pill that will make you feel even worse. Visits to the acupuncturist may allow you to decrease the amount of medication you take or eliminate it completely.
According to a systematic review and meta-analysis in Frontiers in Neurology, acupuncture was more effective than medications for migraines and had less adverse reactions (side effects).
Acupuncture treatments relieve migraine pain naturally by prompting your body to release endorphins. The chemicals act as natural pain relievers and help improve your mood. Treatments may also change the way your brain processes and interprets pain signals, resulting in less painful headaches.
Treatments also control migraine symptoms by:
- Easing Nausea. Nausea makes it difficult to function when you have a migraine. Fortunately, acupuncture offers a proven way to combat nausea. Stimulating the P6 acupuncture point in the wrist is beneficial for several conditions that cause nausea, according to a systematic review published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Your acupuncturist may also place needles in your head or other parts of your body if your migraines make you feel nauseated.
- Decreasing Migraine Frequency. Acupuncture treatments may reduce the number of migraines you get every month. In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers discovered that participants who received acupuncture treatments saw a significant decrease in the amount of migraines they experienced. According to the American Migraine Foundation, you may experience fewer migraines for more than 6 months after the last acupuncture treatment.
- Relieving Trigger Points. Trigger points, commonly called knots, happen when fibers in a muscle tighten but never relax again. The knots make migraines worse, although they can often be felt even when you don't have a headache. Inserting hair-thin needles into the fibers causes them to relax, eliminating the trigger point.
- Reducing Inflammation. Inflammation in your head could irritate nerves in your brain and head and trigger or worsen a migraine. Luckily, acupuncture treatments offers an effective way to decrease inflammation in your head and throughout your body. It's easy to keep inflammation under control when you schedule periodic appointments with your acupuncturist.
- Helping You Manage Stress. Is stress one of your migraine triggers? Acupuncture treatments lower stress naturally and may help you avoid migraines. During your treatment, your body increases its production of endorphins, chemicals that make you feel calm and relaxed. Treatments also decrease the production of cortisol, a hormone that plays a key role in stress. In addition to providing acupuncture treatments, your acupuncturist may also recommend herbal remedies that reduce stress.
Don't let migraine pain keep you from doing the things you want to do. Contact our office to schedule an acupuncture treatment.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Cochrane Systematic Reviews Examine P6 Acupuncture-Point Stimulation for Nausea and Vomiting
American Migraine Foundation: Acupuncture and Migraine: Finding a Combination That Sticks, 07/25/2017
Frontiers in Neurology: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Therapeutic Effect of Acupuncture on Migraine, 06/30/2020
Medical News Today: Acupuncture for Migraines: What to Know, 07/29/2021