Saturday, January 21, 2012
Acupuncture for Headaches and Migraines
fall into three main categories: tension-type, migraine and
cervicogenic. Tension-type headaches are the most frequent.
endure tension-type headaches usually feel mild to moderate pain
sides of the head. The pain is usually described as tight, stiff
as if something is being wrapped around your head and squeezed
tightly. Tension headaches are the most common headaches, and generally
infrequent mild to moderate pain, but in a considerable number of
patients, tension headaches are so frequent that they require
Migraine headaches, on the other hand, can be
disabling and severe. Accompanying
symptoms can include nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light.While
migraines affect far fewer people than tension-type headaches and
have a much shorter duration, their symptoms are much more
typically affect women more frequently than men, with pain that
occurs on one side of the head
Cervicogenic headaches are the most recently diagnosed type of headache
and are musculoskeletal in nature. They may be caused by pain in the neck
or spine that is transferred to the head. Many times, cervicogenic headaches
go undiagnosed because of their recent classification.
Who suffers from headaches?
Nearly everyone will suffer a headache at some point in time. They are
one of the most common physical complaints that prompt people to treat
themselves or seek professional assistance. Some estimates say that up
to 50 million Americans suffer from sever, long-lasting, recurring headaches.
While most headaches are not necessarily symptomatic of another condition,
they can be very distracting and account for significant amounts of time
lost from work.
What causes headaches?
Emotional stress is a well known trigger for migraine. Japanese
researchers have found that people living in fast-paced business centers
in Tokyo tend to have an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system,
specifically, an inhibition of the parasympathetic system that is active
during relaxation, and an excitation of the sympathetic nervous system,
which governs our response to stress. This type of imbalance is
associated with other health conditions such as heart disease, insomnia,
high blood pressure, and premenstrual syndrome.
In order to harmonize the autonomic nervous system, our acupuncture physician uses a special
acupuncture technique called SES. The SES technique involves the shallow
insertion of acupuncture needles just to the dermis of the skin, with
manual needle stimulation given while the patient is exhaling and in
sitting position. This technique was originally studied by professor
Kazushi Nishijo of Tsukuba College of Technology in Japan, who found it
had positive physiological effects on the nervous system. Recent
studies suggest that this acupuncture technique may activate the
parasympathetic nervous system and decrease muscle tension. Acupuncture
points for this technique are usually chosen on the forearms and lower
An imbalance of female hormones is another factor believed to be
related to migraine. At Healthy Being Wellness Center, females with migraine outnumber
males. Application of indirect heat using moxibustion, a traditional
heat treatment that involves gently burning medicinal herbs over the
skin on the lower abdomen, low back, and sacral bone may help balance
Significant muscle tension in the neck and upper back is common in
people with migraines, so reducing this tension is an important part of
migraine prevention. Application of acupuncture needles to points on the
patient's body found to be sensitive or reactive in order to cause an
instantaneous increase in blood flow to those tight muscles
What can acupuncture do for headaches?
Acupuncture, as an effective treatment modality, has been applied to headaches
from the earliest beginnings of TCM. Acupuncture involves penetrating the skin with thin, metallic needles at
specific points. It is one of the main medical treatments in
traditional Chinese medicine, where it came into being more than 2,000
Since pain during a migraine is believed to be associated with
dilation of blood vessels in the head, inducing this physiological
reaction through the insertion of needles into the head and neck area
would not be desirable during an attack. It may even temporarily worsen
the patient's pain and accompanying symptoms such as nausea.
The head and neck areas
are rarely stimulated to avoid unnecessary dilation of vessels in that
area. In addition, the entire treatment is often done with the patient in
sitting position rather than the usual lying position. This is because
blood vessels are under greater control in sitting position, minimizing
the chance of undesired dilation of the blood vessels following
acupuncture. In certain situations, a high frequency (100 Hz) electrical
current may be connected to the acupuncture needles to help constrict
the blood vessels.
Acupuncture for migraine prevention
Brian Berman, M.D., director
of the University of Maryland Center for
Integrative Medicine in Baltimore, confirmed that acupuncture is
definitely becoming a more popular treatment option for Americans.
"There is more evidence coming out showing acupuncture is safe and often
effective and should be considered as part of a multidisciplinary
approach for chronic pain," he said.
Appointments are available Mon-Saturday. Please call
727-502-3464 or visit our website: www.healthybeingllc.com to book your