Relieve the Pain and Pressure of Your Headache With Acupuncture
Headaches don't have to be severe to affect your life. Even mild pain can interfere with your concentration and trigger nausea and irritability. Medication isn't always effective in relieving pain and pressure and may only treat your symptoms, not the source of your pain. Even worse, medications can cause a range of unpleasant side effects. Acupuncture treatments offer an effective, natural way to relieve headache pain and reduce the frequency of your headaches.
What Type of Headache Do I Have?
Your pain may be caused by one of these types of common headaches:
- Tension. Also called "hatband" headaches, tension headaches cause mild to moderate pain and pressure in your forehead, temples and the back of your head. Tension headaches can be caused or worsened by stress, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, poor posture or spending long hours working on a computer or looking at a digital device. Tensions headaches are considered chronic if they occur for more than 15 days per month for at least three months.
- Migraines. Migraines often cause intense, throbbing pain on one side of the head, sensitivity to light, nausea, and vomiting. The headaches can last a few hours to a few days and affect more women than men. Although the cause of migraines isn't known, you're more likely to get them if someone else in your family has them. Triggers vary from person to person and may include fluctuating hormones, bright lights, strong smells, changing barometric pressure, and certain foods.
- Cluster Headaches. Cluster headache sufferers experience multiple severe one-sided headaches per day for weeks or months at a time. Other symptoms can include a runny nose, tearing in the eye on the affected side of the head, and facial flushing. The cause of the headaches is unknown but your risk may increase if you smoke or have a family history of cluster headaches.
How Do Acupuncturists Treat Headache Pain?
Acupuncturists focus on restoring the natural balance to your body. An imbalance can occur when Qi, a vital life force that travels throughout your body through a series of meridians, becomes blocked at some point. Blockage can cause headaches and other physical ailments.
Fortunately, these blockages can be eliminated by inserting hair-thin acupuncture needles into your skin at the site of the problem. Your acupuncturist determines needle placement based on the type of headache you experience and your symptoms.
Restoring the normal flow of Qi moderates yin and yang, the opposing forces that make up the life force. Once normal balance returns, you may find that your headaches don't occur quite as often.
Researchers who conducted a Cochrane systematic review of migraine research studies noted that the frequency of migraines dropped by half in 41 percent of participants who received acupuncture treatment. In comparison, only 17 percent of non-acupuncture participants noticed a decrease in migraine frequency.
Another Cochrane review, this one dedicated to tension headaches, found equally promising results when acupuncture was used to treat the headaches. Participants who received acupuncture treatments were more likely to report fewer headaches and less intense pain compared to those who received sham acupuncture treatments.
Acupuncture may also help headache pain in several other ways, including:
- Triggering the Release of Natural Pain Killers. Pain reduction is one of the most beneficial aspects of acupuncture. Treatments trigger the production of endorphins, natural chemicals that ease pain.
- Turning on Brain Pathways. Acupuncture treatment may prompt your body to turn off pain signals by activating brain pathways involved in pain transmission.
- Decreasing Muscle Tension. Tight muscles in your neck, head and shoulders may cause or contribute to headache symptoms. Acupuncture naturally relaxes your muscles, relieving tension.
- Improving Blood Flow. Treatments also improve blood flow to your muscles and your head, which can be helpful in relieving the pain of tension headaches.
- Decreasing Inflammation. Inflammation in your head or neck may be a factor in chronic headaches. During acupuncture treatments, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that reduces inflammation.
Are you tired of living with headache pain? Acupuncture treatment can help you enjoy more headache-free days. Contact us to schedule your appointment.