Can acupuncture help relieve recurring headaches? Evidence supported by the WHO (World Health Organisation) has shown that it can.
Many people suffer from different types of headache with varying degrees of pain. As an acupuncturist I want lots of information about your head ache so that I can make a Chinese Medicine diagnose and then choose the correct acupuncture points for you. So the sort of questions I would be asking are:
- What time of day is it worse?
- Does it get better when you move around?
- What is the nature of the pain? Is it dull, heavy, stabbing, boring?
- Where is the pain? On your temples, forehead, behind the eyes?
- Is it better or worse after eating?
- Is there anything that eases it?
TYPES OF HEADACHES
A headache that is worse in the morning but improves when you get up and start moving around is likely to be due to Damp and your digestion will be playing a part. A headache that is better when you lie down is a Deficiency headache and I would be looking to improve the flow of Qi and Blood in your body. A headache which starts with a stiff neck and is worse with stress is likely to involve the Liver channel and be an imbalance of Yin and Yang. This is just a brief example; there are other types of headaches as well as migraines which are more debilitating.
LOCATION OF HEADACHE
The location of your headache and a description of the pain are also important. If it’s at the temples it’s a Liver channel issue; at the top of the head is likely to be a deficiency of some kind, on the forehead it may be related to the Stomach channel. A dull heavy headache will have a different Chinese Medicine diagnosis to a stabbing/splitting headache.
As acupuncture is a holistic medicine I will also be asking lots of other questions, some of which you may wonder as to their relevance. There will be questions about your sleep, your diet and digestion, energy levels and stress. For women there will also be questions regarding your menstrual cycle and if appropriate the menopause.
The advantage of using acupuncture over drugs is that there are virtually no side-effects. People who continually take over the counter medication can get rebound headaches which then results in a vicious circle of pain. In the view of the World Health Organisation, WHO, the results of clinical trials suggests acupuncture could play a significant role in managing headaches.
” 2.1.1 Head and face
The use of acupuncture for treating chronic pain of the head and face has been studied extensively. For tension headache, migraine and other kinds of headache due to a variety of causes, acupuncture has performed favourably in trials comparing it with standard therapy, sham acupuncture, or mock transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) (17–27). The results suggest that acupuncture could play a significant role in treating such conditions.”
So if you visit an acupuncturist for your headache be prepared to describe it in detail; that gives your practitioner a better chance of working out where the problem is and choosing the acupuncture points accordingly.
TUINA MASSAGE FOR HEADACHES
If you can’t face the thought of needles I also use Tuina massage which uses the same points and meridians as acupuncture to help re-balance the body.
EVIDENCE FOR ACUPUNCTURE TO RELIEVE RECURRING HEADACHES
For more information about how acupuncture may help your headache please visit the British Acupuncture Council website. The Cochrane Institute have reviewed studies using acupuncture for headaches and there is also a brief article on Reuters which you may find interesting.
HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT
If you have not had acupuncture treatment before and want to find out more about it please read this blog to find out how to get the best from a treatment.
To find out what to expect from an acupuncture treatment please read here.
MORE ABOUT JACKIE GRAHAM
If you would like to discuss your headache with me or book an appointment please call or text me on 07733274745 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can visit my website or Bridge to Health for more information. at