Acupuncture is proven to be effective in treating migraine headaches. The exact
mechanism of action is not known. One theory suggests that acupuncture releases endorphins,
the brain's natural painkillers. Another states that acupuncture may stabilize levels
of serotonin, a chemical messenger in the brain. Research has shown that after acupuncture
treatments, patients experience fewer and less-severe migraine attacks. Acupuncture
is often coupled with Chinese herbs, changes in diet and lifestyle, vitamin supplements,
and other measures.
By applying acupuncture to certain points along various meridians of the body, we
re-establish the body's equilibrium, thereby treating the cause and the pain of migraine.
By the time most migraine sufferers discover acupuncture, many have often suffered
numerous previous attacks and have been on a long, exhausting search for relief.
Although acupuncture can successfully ease the pain of an attack, therapy is best
used as a preventive treatment for migraines.
Before treating with acupuncture, you need to ascertain the location of the headache.
Because the head is traversed by many meridians, the location of the headache determines
which meridians are involved. For example: pain in the occiput and nape of the neck
indicates blockage of one meridian, while pain at the forehead and above the eyes
indicates problems in a different meridian. Pain by the temples and side of the head
is related to yet another meridian, while pain at the top of the head indicates an
imbalance in yet another. Each of these headaches is relieved by applying acupuncture
to different points, depending on the location of the pain and the meridian involved.
In addition, as acupuncturists, we want to know what the pain is like, if it is associated
with particular weather patterns or food intake. For example, not all, but a small
proportion of migraine patients will react to tyramine, a chemical found in aged
cheese, yogurt, beer, wine, liver, yeast and certain other foods. The time of day
when the headache occurs is another factor we consider, among others. After determining
these things, we are able to design a treatment program to restore the proper energies
to normal and prevent the recurrence of the headaches. At ARC Physical Therapy and
Pain Center, we commonly treat migraines. We work in a cooperative effort with our
patients and are pleased with the level of satisfaction they express after having
undergone treatment with us.