Migraine disorder is one of the leading disabling conditions worldwide. It ranks as the 7th leading cause of disability and over 90% of migraine sufferers cannot function during an attack. A migraine is a form of intense headache that can include light sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting. As opposed to a simple headache, a migraine is more intense and usually affects only one side of the brain, which might impair your functionality.
Acupuncture for migraines has been a known treatment method throughout its history. According to a study, preventative medication treatment with fewer side effects may not be as beneficial as acupuncture. Researchers have suggested acupuncture as a therapy alternative for patients who are comfortable with acupuncture for headaches and migraines.
At Healthstin, we offer acupuncture therapy at our Allied Health Clinic in Bexley North that may lessen the symptoms of your headaches and migraines. Our highly trained acupuncturists ensure the needles are sterilised and placed correctly in the body. To better understand the many benefits that acupuncture can offer, we need to identify what triggers migraines and headaches. Read on to find out more.
What triggers headaches and migraines?
Although migraine risk factors can develop at any age, they most frequently do so around puberty and primarily affect people between the ages of 35 and 45. In general, migraine frequency and intensity reach their peak in your 30s and then gradually decrease over the following decades. Although its origins can still vary, it is important to understand what can cause a migraine or a headache:
• Hormonal Changes in Women – When their levels of oestrogen change, like before or during their periods, pregnancy, or menopause, some women get headaches. Oral contraceptives are an example of a medicine that affects hormones and may make migraines worse. However, some women find that taking these medicines makes their migraines happen less often.
• Stress — Migraines are often caused by stress, which changes how the mind produces hormones and chemical messengers. Stress makes stress hormones, like serotonin, go up a lot. This makes blood vessels narrow, which can lead to migraines.
• Lack of sleep or alteration of sleeping patterns – Not enough sleep may influence hormone production, lowering your pain threshold. Sleep deprivation changes the proteins that activate and regulate chronic pain, which can result in migraines.
• Caffeine withdrawal or drinking too much coffee — Caffeine is known for reducing magnesium levels, a mineral that is vital for neuromuscular activity. This elevates blood pressure and causes dehydration, both of which are linked to migraines.
• Drinking wine and alcoholic drinks – There are chemicals in wine and other alcoholic drinks called histamine and ethanol that have been connected to migraines. Histamines make the body inflamed while ethanol is a diuretic that affects blood pressure.
• Eating certain foods — Because they contain ingredients like nitrates, additives, preservatives, and tyramine, cured meats (such as deli meats, sausages, bacon, and ham), aged cheeses (like blue cheese and parmesan), salty and pickled foods, and chocolate can cause migraine. Foods with high sodium levels can raise blood pressure and tighten blood vessels, which may trigger a migraine.
• Weather changes — A change in the weather or barometric pressure may result in a headache. Storm pressure variations, “heavy” grey days, and high levels of humidity have all been connected to alterations in the brain’s chemical balance that may intensify inflammation and nerve pain.
High blood pressure and chemical changes in the brain cause migraines. Acupuncture is a good way to treat migraines as it stimulates nerves and pressure points. The health benefits of acupuncture show that it is a natural way to treat migraines.
How does Acupuncture work for headaches?
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting very thin needles into specific points or meridians of the body where blocked energy flow is located. Acupuncture can help restore the flow of positive energy throughout your body.
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that acupuncture can help remove the negative energy prompting the pain. Further modern medical studies offer other findings, suggesting that acupuncture helps with the stimulation of various systems in your body, thereby triggering a healing response. Here are some of its benefits:
• Stimulates the release of endorphins: Inserting needles into specific acupuncture points helps release endorphins, which help relieve physical pain, reduce stress, and develop your sense of well-being.
• Improve blood circulation: Acupuncture helps improve blood circulation, which is one of the triggers of migraines. Acupuncture reduces and regulates inflammation and modulates brain chemicals by constricting and dilating blood vessels. The constriction of blood vessels helps with the alleviation of migraine symptoms.
• Encourages mental relaxation: Hormone levels can be kept in check with the help of acupuncture. The way your body responds to stress is affected by the hormones cortisol, dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin. When these chemicals are in balance, your body may be able to deal with stress. A serotonin imbalance in the brain is linked to the start of migraines.
• Stimulates immune functions: Acupuncture can help boost your immune system and strengthen your overall health, which increases your body’s ability to fight against infections. Studies have demonstrated that acupuncture is efficient at stimulating the body’s white blood cell and T-cell counts. Acupuncture is another method that can be used to treat conditions that adversely impact your immune system.
How often should you do Acupuncture for migraine?
How many acupuncture sessions you need will depend on your body, your medical history, how often and how severe your migraines are, and how fast your body responds to acupuncture. In some cases, the first step is to come in once or twice a week for four to six weeks.
Our Accredited Exercise Physiologists and acupuncturists may recommend acupuncture treatments to a range of patients who experience chronic pain and other health conditions. In addition, the senior community can benefit from acupuncture as it can help to hasten the healing process of specific musculoskeletal disorders, such as osteoarthritis, in conjunction with other treatments.
At Healthstin, we have a team of Allied Health Professionals and an acupuncturist at our Allied Health Clinic in Bexley who have a combined experience of over 20 years of helping people with exercise programs to better manage and treat injuries and other chronic disabilities. Chat with an Exercise Physiologist today via 1300 090 931 or click this link to book an appointment.