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Anyone suffering with headache and/or migraine knows just how debilitating they can be. Making anyone’s day completely unbearable, they can affect people of all ages, genders, races and professions. While headaches can be intolerable,  migraines can be more severe and can progress through several stages.  Women are three times more likely to suffer migraines than men.

Common Types and Symptoms of Headache and Migraine

Tension headaches are easily the most common types as people regard them as normal aches. You feel a constant ache that can be either on one side or on both sides of the head. You may feel like there is a tight elastic band stretched around the head.

Migraines are less common yet more troubling than tension headaches. While you can withstand a normal headache, a migraine may cause you to stop your ordinary daily activity. In fact, it can be so severe that you want to remain in bed for the better part of the day.

There is a difference between a headache and a migraine headache. Headaches are not usually accompanied by other symptoms associated with migraine. These symptoms are nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and noise.  Migraine attacks usually last from 4 to 72 hours

A rare type of headache called cluster headache occurs in clusters and can last a month or two. Cluster headaches can be seasonal and they usually form excruciating pain around the eyes. They can also bring other symptoms such as a blocked nose, runny nose and red eye.

Common Causes of Headache and Migraine

Drinking too much alcoholic drinks can cause severe headaches especially the morning following a drinking spree. Colds, flu and temporomandibular disorders such as poor chewing, inflammation of the muscles and jaw joints are other causes.

Some headaches in women are caused by irregular hormonal cycles, with some women reporting regular headaches during their periods or at other times throughout their cycle. The ingestion of certain contraceptive pills can bring on a headache. Headaches can also be experienced during pregnancy and menopause.

Sudden pressure on the head after falling or hitting a hard surface of course can cause headache. Some occur as a side effect of certain drugs. Too many painkillers can also cause frequent headaches. Other causes are sleep apnea, chemical and food sensitivities, carbon monoxide poisoning and sinusitis.

Western Medical Treatment for Headache and Migraine

Conventional treatment for headache and migraine features two categories – pain relievers and preventive medications. Pain-relievers are commonly over-the-counter drugs. They are also referred to as abortive treatment, as they are taken during the headache or migraine attack to stop it. Abortive treatment options include nonspecific and migraine-specific therapy. Nonspecific therapies include analgesics (aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and opiates), adjunctive therapies (anti-emetics and sedatives), and other nonspecific medications (intranasal lidocaine or steroids). Migraine-specific abortive therapies include ergotamine and its derivatives, and triptans.

On the other hand, preventive medications are taken on a regular basis to prevent the trigger of headache and migraine. Only five medications have been approved specifically for this purpose:

  • Propranolol, brand name Inderal.
  • Timolol, brand name Blocadren.
  • Divalproex, brand name Depakote.
  • Topiramate, brand name Topamax.
  • Onabotulinum Toxin Type A, brand Botox (approved for chronic Migraine only, Migraine occurring 15 or more days a month)

Medications bot abortive and preventive can be effective but come with a price. Side effects can be just as debilitating as the actual headache. Some may cause nausea, tremor, fatigue, rapid heart rate, muscle weakness, weight gain, hair loss and dizziness.

The good news is that their are alternative treatments that are just as or more effective but without the side effects. One of the most popular of these therapies is acupuncture.

How Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Treats Headache and Migraine

By inserting acupuncture needles (thin, sterile, painless) into certain points on the body, a skilled acupuncturist can reduce or completely eliminate a headache or migraine by the end of the treatment.

Acupuncture as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine has been effectively used to remedy headaches for thousands of years. Once your acupuncturists discovers the root cause of the headache or migraine, acupuncture points are chosen that will relieve the pain and correct the imbalance.

Acupuncture patients can expect a reduction in the severity / intensity of the pain, as well as the duration and frequency. Acupuncture, as previously stated, is largely safe. Unlike Western medication, it does not introduce side effects or other undesirable conditions.

Acupuncture Research Studies

According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, acupuncture for headache is a practical remedy. One study used acupuncture to treat 500 adults with headache. These people had reported 6-8 monthly headaches before the study, and a significant percentage reported an elimination, reduction of symptoms, or an improvement in the intensity and frequency of their headaches.

The British Acupuncture Council recommends acupuncture for headache and migraine treatment, saying that it registers better results than conventional options. In addition to pain relief, acupuncture reduces inflammation of the problematic tissues. It is ideal for acute attacks and the treatment is cost-effective.

Don’t suffer a day longer. Boca Raton Acupuncture can help. Our experienced, skilled acupuncture physicians have successfully treated many cases of headache and migraine, and they are confident that they can help you too. Call us for a free consultation today!