Can Acupuncture Help Relieve Headaches?
Updated: Oct 25, 2021
It is often difficult to think straight when there’s constant pounding in your head, which happens quite a lot if you are someone who often gets headaches and migraines. When headaches occur, they can cause a lot of pain and anxiety, and finding treatment that brings relief becomes a high priority as you know how much they can affect your quality of life. Treatment with painkillers at the first sign of pain is usually sufficient to relieve mild or rare headaches and migraines. However, some headaches do not respond well to ordinary pain treatments, which is why some doctors prescribe preventative medications. Unfortunately, many of these medications are not well tolerated and cause undesirable side effects. For this reason, many patients prefer holistic treatments and natural remedies to counter pain. Acupuncture is one of the treatment options most people usually seek but can it really help with headaches? Let’s find out more about this treatment, how it works, and its benefits in the next sections.
How Acupuncture Relieves Pain
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that is performed by placing needles and pressure on the patient’s skin in certain places to achieve a therapeutic effect. One of the most common uses of acupuncture to treat a variety of disorders is the treatment of headaches and migraines. Headaches and migraines are difficult to treat, and pharmacotherapies are usually the first line of treatment, although you may have options if your headache worsens to chronic migraines.
Acupuncture is supposed to restore the flow of positive energy in the body. This form of Chinese medicine uses needles at specific acupuncture points on the skin to induce healing and restore balance in the human body. It aims to remove the negative energy that causes pain by inserting a very thin needle into pressure points in your body.
From the perspective of modern medicine, acupuncture stimulates different systems in the body, and this can trigger a healing response. It is the stimulation of the immune and circulatory system that advocates the use of acupuncture to relieve migraines, tension headaches, and cluster headaches.
Acupuncture focuses on a series of pressure points, and acupuncture needle placements. The needle points are usually located on the nerves in the body, and they stimulate the nerves to release hormones such as endorphins that trigger a reaction in the body.
Although it is used to treat a variety of disorders, one of the most common uses is to treat migraines and other chronic headaches, as well as to find pain relief.
Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Headache Relief
Acupuncture is gaining increasing attention among medical professionals, especially with regard to the potential of alternative therapies. The medical community has also paid attention to it, particularly with regard to its use in headache treatment.
In many studies, acupuncture has proven to be an effective alternative to pharmacotherapies , which may be beneficial for individuals who frequently suffer from migraines and headaches. There is sufficient evidence to support the use of acupuncture as a treatment for headaches or migraines, but further research is needed to ensure that the inclusion of acupuncture in headache and migraine management has a positive impact as well as the effectiveness of this treatment.
Many adults suffer from chronic headaches and migraines, and acupuncture has proven to be safe. Despite the popularity of acupuncture, its effectiveness in preventing headaches is controversial but It can help reduce the frequency of headaches and migraines, at least in the short term.
Can acupuncture reduce the frequency of headaches and migraines?
One review randomized controlled trials involving thousands of adults who suffered from frequent stress and from episodic migraines. This review compared the number of headaches experienced by people who used acupuncture to a control group who used acupuncture only to treat symptoms. Participants who were treated with acupuncture for one week or more were considered for the effects of acupuncture on the severity of the headache and on symptoms such as pain, nausea, dizziness, or fatigue. Weeks after acupuncture began, frequent headache and migraine patients had fewer episodes than patients who were routinely treated with medication or other preventive measures.
Overall, acupuncture patients reported fewer headaches than those who stopped the study and received medication. This systematic review also showed that acupuncture was safe and well-tolerated. The effectiveness of acupuncture showed an increase in quality of life that was statistically significant compared to the quality of life of the sham acupuncture groups.
Acupuncture treatment for chronic headaches reduces the need for painkillers and should be considered to reduce the risk of serious side effects such as anxiety and depression. As for the long-term benefits of acupuncture, the jury is still out, but it could be promising. The evidence on the short- and long-term efficacy of acupuncture is mixed, but patients with frequent headaches and migraines, as well as patients treated with medication or preventive measures such as acupuncture or sham acupuncture, were not treated for long periods.
To find out whether acupuncture can actually help reduce the frequency of headaches or migraines, more research is needed to determine whether the treatment has any lasting benefits, but this new finding shows something that is promising: it is safe and tolerable.
Managing Headaches and Migraines
Acupuncture cannot replace traditional medicine and should not be used to treat all types of headaches. Some headaches require immediate medical attention and can cause severe side effects such as dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
Sometimes headaches can be caused by an underlying factor, such as an allergic reaction that needs to be diagnosed. If you have blurred vision, dizziness, or nausea, talk to a doctor immediately. Headaches that get worse with time indicate that you immediately need help.
Migraine is a complex neurological disorder characterized by significant disabilities in daily life due to the pain and symptoms associated with seizures. It is difficult to treat, and current treatments have many undesirable side effects that can even worsen headaches in chronic migraines. In addition, many migraine patients have difficulty in getting the right diagnosis and subsequently receiving the necessary care.
This has led many doctors and researchers to use acupuncture as a treatment for migraine sufferers who cannot rely on the usual pharmacology and medication. In this review, we analyze the current understanding of migraine acupuncture and evaluate the efficacy and safety of various acupuncture treatments for migraine and other chronic headaches.
Another option for treating acute headaches may be the use of aerobic exercise therapy. Migraine sufferers choose aerobics exercises to counteract the causes of their symptoms. Exercise can reduce stress, increase lung capacity, improve blood circulation, and lower blood pressure.
Before Seeking Treatment
Many insurance policies do not cover acupuncture procedures, such as in the case of acupuncture for cluster headaches.
Many people do not respond well to medications prescribed to prevent headaches and migraines, and acupuncture is a good alternative. However, always remember to inform your doctor before you receive alternative medical treatment without a firm diagnosis. There is no specific preparation before the appointment for acupuncture treatment, but acupuncture alone may not be enough to treat chronic headaches. During treatment, some people will not feel anything at all, but after talking to your doctor about your concerns and discomfort, you should feel calmer during and after the procedure.
Acupuncture and Alternative Therapies
Alternative therapies are particularly useful for people who do not respond well to preventive drugs or treatment options or those who are adequately relieved by these approaches. Many complementary and integrative therapies are available for the treatment of migraines, including acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, and other forms of manual therapy.
It seems that regular acupuncture is a good choice for managing and preventing chronic headaches and migraines. Long-term studies comparing acupuncture with non-acupuncture treatments such as medicines or preventive measures are needed. Previous research has shown that acupuncture can cause less pain than other treatments, and recent research shows the effectiveness of the two treatments for chronic headaches and migraines are effective.
We hope this article has given you an overview of the use of acupuncture as a treatment for migraines and some of its benefits. If you think you can benefit from this treatment or want to learn more about other holistic treatments and therapies that we offer, visit Natural Chiropractic Care in Lindenhurst today or check our website for more information.