As it is Migraine Awareness Week I thought I would write a blog post on migraines and acupuncture.In my years as an acupuncturist I have treated many migraine sufferers who have benefited from the therapeutic experience of acupuncture and I describe one such case below.
So what is the difference between a migraine and a headache?
- A migraine is usually regarded as a severe one sided headache.
- Migraines usually involve moderate to severe pain and they last from 4 hours to 3 days.
- They are a regular occurance often at least once a month and sometimes as often as 4 times a month.
- The pain has a pulsating, throbbing quality
- It usually occurs behind the eye or ear.
- Often it is aggravated by exertion and movement.
- Migraines are often triggered by food allergies or sensitivities, such as cheese, alcohol, caffeine and chocolate
- They can also be caused by stress, tiredness and hunger
- Women may suffer from migraines as the result of hormonal changes
Case Study: Migraines and Acupuncture
A young client came to see me a few months ago. She had recently started having migraines. They were occuring almost constantly and as a result she was unable to work. The medications she had been given by the doctor were making her ill, so she was looking for a safe alternative.
Firstly we looked at triggers for her migraines. It turned out to be certain types of alcohol and also tiredness. She therefore became more aware of what she ate and especially drank. Also she started going to bed at a regular time in order to get 8 hours sleep a night. I not only used specific points which help with migraines but also gave her magnets which she could use on points when she felt a migraine attack was imminent.
After a couple of treatments she reported that the attacks was becoming fewer, lasting less long and the pain was not severe. Four months on she had only had one migraine in the last month and had returned to work part time.
Top tips for relieving migraines:
- avoid foods you know trigger migraines – keep a food diary
- aim to get enough sleep – tiredness can ofter be a trigger for migraines
- try acupuncture – as my case study shows, acupuncture can be very helpful in both in relieving migraines and helping you to feel more calm and relaxed
- make lifestyle changes that help with your work/life balance so that you can be as stress free as possible