The Migraine Research Foundation reports that migraine is an extraordinarily common disease that affects 36 million men, women and children in the United States. Almost everyone either knows someone who has suffered from migraine, or has struggled with migraine themselves. In addition to attack-related disability, migraine interferes with a sufferer’s ability to function in everyday life, whether that is going to school or work, caring for family or enjoying social activities.
In a 2009 paper entitled Acupuncture for Migraine Prophylaxis, Cochrane reviewed the research literature and concluded that acupuncture is significantly better than no treatment/basic care for managing migraine and appears to be as least as effective as prophylactic drug therapy with few contraindications or unpleasant side effects.
Acupuncture can offer acute migraine relief and migraine prevention without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause. Chinese Medicine does not recognize migraines and recurring headaches as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual. Therefore, your diagnosis and treatment will depend on a number of variables: Is the headache behind your eyes and temples, or is it located more on the top of your head? When do your headaches occur (i.e. night, morning, after eating)? Do you find that a cold compress or a dark room can alleviate some of the pain? Do you describe the pain as dull and throbbing, or sharp and piercing?
As your acupuncturist, I will look for the underlying causes and design a comprehensive treatment program specifically for you.
The number and frequency of treatments will vary. Typically a patient is treated one or two times a week. Some symptoms are relieved after a few treatments, while more severe or chronic ailments will require many more treatments.