Migraine headaches are one of the most painful conditions people can suffer, even disabling people for days at a time. Unfortunately they’re not uncommon, affecting 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men in the United States. A migraine can involve a throbbing sensation, usually on one side of the head or in a certain location on the head. Sometimes migraine sufferers also experience nausea, vomiting, and severe sensitivity to light. Finding an effective solution can be challenging, but new research indicates that acupuncture may reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of migraines.
According to findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a team of Chinese scientists determined that acupuncture reduces the frequency of migraines for those who suffer from migraines without auras (there are different types of migraines, one of which features auras or visual sensations) after twenty weeks of treatment at the rate of five times a week. Patients receiving acupuncture also experienced fewer days total suffering from migraines with less severe symptoms overall. These are potentially positive indications that acupuncture could help to mitigate migraine pain for those who find it so debilitating.
Migraines have a variety of causes and may even be genetic, passed down from one generation to the next. One factor that very often contributes to migraine attacks is, of course, stress. After all, 70 to 90 percent of doctor’s visits are due to stress-related health concerns, and stress itself is known to cause painful headaches in addition to other symptoms like high blood pressure and insomnia. Acupuncture can be of benefit in these circumstances as well since it improves the body’s capacity to handle stress. For example, trigger point therapy can alleviate stress in tense muscles found in the neck, shoulders, and, upper back. Acupuncture also restores proper blood flow, promoting circulation and lowering the heart rate while reducing cortisol levels.
Migraines and stress are sometimes linked with depression. Here, too, acupuncture can be helpful. Acupuncture can alleviate fatigue, boost your energy, improve your mood, and even reduce anxiety as well. Migraine sufferers may at times experience depression since the headache pain is so debilitating that it impedes their ability to live a full and normal life, keeping them from being productive at work and enjoying the activities that they normally would. As the research appears to indicate, acupuncture may be a helpful option for treating migraine headaches in addition to some of the conditions that are associated with them.