Anyone that regularly suffers from migraines knows how debilitating it is and more importantly how you would do anything to subside the pain. Therefore, as a result of typical Western pain medication such as paracetamol and ibuprofen having little to no effect on severe migraines, many people have turned to Acupuncture. As with any medical treatment, there are studies that oppose and support the effect of Acupuncture but over the past decade, there has been an increase in research evidencing the relief it has provided sufferers of chronic migraines. This is also further substantiated by The World Health Organisation who have in fact endorsed acupuncture as a viable and promising treatment for pain relief since the late 1970’s.
So, how exactly does Acupuncture subside migraine pain?
Acupuncture theory is based on the idea that the body is comprised of energy or ‘Qi’ (pronounced ‘chi’) that is in a continuous flow. If there is a blockage in your body this flow of Qi is stopped causing pain or illness to the correspondent area of the body. Acupuncture seeks to help restore this flow of energy by targeting and stimulating specific points on the body with hair-thin needles. In terms of the pain relief aspect, because the Acu-points are usually located close to nerves, when stimulated they will release hormones such as endorphins into the body. In turn, this is what will help relieve any chronic migraine pain and promote relief and relaxation in the brain.
Are there any side effects?
Acupuncture comes with very little side effects when carried out by a licensed and trained practitioner. The only minor side effects that you may experience during your first session is slight bruising and fatigue as your body internally and externally adjusts to the new treatment. With that in mind, it is extremely important to research your acupuncturist before booking your first appointment. One of the best ways to do this is to visit their website and look for customer testimonials, particularly for the reason you are seeking out the treatment. This should give you a clear and honest idea of how the acupuncturist works and how effective the treatment is. When you do arrive at your appointment don’t be afraid to ask questions and watch to see the way in which the practitioner stores and uses the needles. One of the biggest health risks in any medical field is the use of equipment that is not sterile as it poses a serious health risk.
Whilst acupuncture is a safer alternative to traditional medication with little to no side effects, it ultimately cannot wholly take the place of being treated with medication. Often Acupuncture works best when coupled with medication as it can help subdue any unpleasant side effects of the treatment. Some headaches and migraines will require more immediate medical attention and it is important that you seek out this help instead of waiting to receive acupuncture. If you are experiencing symptoms such as being light-headed, dizziness or nausea, it is important that you see a doctor as soon as possible as sometimes there can be more severe underlying issues such as allergic reactions, blood clots or blood pressure spikes.