Migraine ranks in the top 20 of the world’s most disabling medical illnesses. Seventy percent of migraine sufferers are women whose symptoms occur with hormonal fluctuations related to the menstrual cycle.
Characterized by moderate to intense pain usually on one side of the head and often accompanied by dizziness, nausea and vomiting, migraines can result in lost days of work, affect work performance, restrict activities and disrupt relationships.
Tension headaches are much more common and usually occur with stress. They can cause a dull, steady pain on both sides of the head, neck and shoulders.
Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for many types of headaches because it can reduce inflammation, calm nervous tension, balance hormone levels and restore proper circulation to the head. Acupuncture often provides immediate relief for a headache in progress without any of the side effects associated with medication.
Self care for headaches and migraines
There are many kinds of headaches and most can be managed if not prevented with diet and lifestyle changes.
Certain foods trigger migraine attacks. Try eliminating culprits like cheese, chocolate, caffeine or alcohol from your diet and see what happens.
At the first sign of a migraine, retreat from your usual activities if possible. Learn stress reduction techniques to calm yourself. Turn off the lights. Migraines often increase sensitivity to light and sound. Relax in a dark, quiet room. Sleep if you can.
Try temperature therapy.
Apply hot or cold compresses to your head or neck. Ice packs have a numbing effect, which may dull the sensation of pain. Hot packs and heating pads can relax tense muscles; warm showers or baths may have a similar effect.
Massage painful areas.
Apply gentle pressure to your scalp or temples. Alleviate muscle tension with a shoulder or neck massage.
During physical activity, your body releases certain chemicals that block pain signals to your brain. These chemicals also help alleviate anxiety and depression, which can make migraines worse.
Regardless of which type of headache you suffer from, it can be eliminated or reduced in intensity and frequency quite easily with acupuncture. The WHO highly recommends acupuncture for headache pain.