Migraine headache is a fairly common condition afflicting more than twice the amount of women than men and research is showing that the number of incidences is increasing in these stressful times. A migraine usually affects one side of the head, causing an intense throbbing or pulsing and is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Some migraines are preceded by sensory warnings like flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling on the arms or legs. For some, the pain is so debilitating that normal social functioning is a challenge and missed work is a common occurrence.
For the symptomatic treatment of migraines, western medicine (a.k.a. allopathic medicine) has non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), ergot alkaloids, serotonin agonists, and opioid analgesics, just to name a few. Many of the serious side effects of some of these drugs have led patients and doctors alike to seek alternative cures.
Much research has been done on acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in the treatment of migraines. One research purports “acupuncture treatment led to significant clinical reduction in both migraine frequency and intensity.” While another reads “Acupuncture leads to persisting, clinically relevant benefits for primary care patients with chronic headache, particularly migraine.”
An abstract from The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry titled Acupuncture Versus Medical Treatment for Migraine and Muscle Tension Headaches claims “Twenty-four of 41 patients improved on acupuncture, the improvement being very marked in nine; nine of 36 patients improved on medical treatment, the improvement being marked in three.” The combination of acupuncture and western medicine means that the need for potentially harmful pharmaceuticals may be dramatically reduced; hence some undesired side effects may be avoided. But the goal of your acupuncturist, of course, is to free you from the need for these drugs entirely.
In Chinese Medicine your migraine is a symptom (a branch) of a deeper problem (the root). With acupuncture and herbs your acupuncturist addresses both the branch and the root. It’s a good thing to put a bucket under a leaking roof. It’s even better overall to patch the roof once the rain has stopped.