Accupuncture for Headache Patients

Acupuncture is a popular complementary treatment for various pain syndromes. Acupuncture is an effective treatment for chronic headaches. Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of extremely fine needles into the skin at precise points in the body. It has been shown to help with nausea and pain and has been known to help women undergoing fertility treatments to conceive. Acupuncture is a component of the health care system of China. Acupuncture is widely used in the management of headaches. It can be applied as a single form of care, or as part of a comprehensive treatment program. Headaches and migraines come in many different flavors. Acupuncture, even when performed by the novice practitioner, is effective in providing temporary relief from the common symptoms of headaches and migraines. There are three constitutional patterns of headaches commonly seen in clinic. The first is what I will call a Qi Rising headache caused by too much Qi (energy) rising to the head. The Qi Rising headache presents with pain that is induced by or worsened with stress, or accompanied by irritability or frequent anger. Generally, the pain is on the temples or above the ears, but can also be behind the eyes, on the top of the head or at the base of the skull. When this headache presents with severe, throbbing or pounding pain, accompanied by symptoms of nausea or vomiting (stomach qi rising up) or visual lights

Patients receiving acupuncture experienced 22 fewer days of headache per year. Patients completed a standardized measure of health-related quality of life at baseline, and three and 12 months after starting the study. Damp headache includes a subset of Phlegm induced headaches that present in conjunction with allergies, sinus problems and head colds. Patients with this type of headache feel a pressure type pain in the head, often behind the eyes or in the sinuses. They may describe a band-like sensation, or a heavy-headed feeling, that may be accompanied by symptoms of poor concentration or ‘foggy’ headedness, poor appetite or heavy limbs. These Damp headache patients are walking barometers, and commonly report that the headache is worse with weather changes, particularly during cloudy or rainy weather. Acupressure practitioner reports that pressing for 60 seconds on the web space between the forefinger and thumb of the dominant hand erases headache in patients with migraine and tension-type headaches. The specific spot pressed should be the most tender point in the web area. The patient should then lie down for about 15 minutes. Acupuncture, hypnosis and biofeedback are all alternative ways to control pain. Acupuncture involves the insertion of tiny sterile needles, slightly thicker than a human hair, at specific points on the body.

Acupuncture refers broadly to a group of procedures that stimulate the skin. Acupuncture is widely used to prevent migraine attacks, but the available evidence of its benefit is scarce. Acupuncture (up to 15 sessions over 12 weeks) was compared with metoprolol (a standard migraine prophylaxis medication). Acupuncture use has been reported for treating and alleviating a variety of ocular conditions. One randomized controlled double-masked study was found that examined the use of acupuncture for dry eye. Needles, 36-gauge, were inserted subcutaneously without penetrating the cartilage, and left in place 30 minutes without any manipulation or stimulation. The total number of treatments ranged from 2-11; the average number was 5. Frequency of treatment was 2-3 times a week, with the number of treatments determined by patient requirements. Acupuncture was no more effective than sham acupuncture in reducing migraine headaches although both interventions were more effective than a waiting list control. Acupuncture is not only effective for migraine headaches, but also works very well with tension headaches, cluster headaches, post-traumatic headaches, and disease-related headaches that might be due to sinus problems, high blood pressure or sleeping disorders. The greatest advantage of acupuncture over Western medicine is that it does virtually no harm. Some medications can have serious side effects and can (in some instances) actually lead to patients experiencing a “rebound” headache.