Pain or aching of the head is associated with various intracranial or extra cranial factors; headaches may be categorized as tension, vascular (cluster, migraine), or traction inflammatory. The pain that headache and migraine sufferers endure can impact every aspect of their lives.
Acupuncture can offer powerful relief without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause. Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine have been used to relieve Headaches and Migraines, as well as their underlying causes, for thousands of years and is a widely accepted form of treatment for headaches in our society.
Acupuncture or Acupressure alone can help you manage your pain, or be a part of a comprehensive treatment program.
Causes and Incidence: Tension headaches are mostly related to muscle tension, minor trauma, increased stress or anxiety, food and environmental allergens, infection or lesions of the oral or nasal cavity, ear infections, or eye strain.
Traction inflammatory headaches are either intracranial or cranial. Intracranial headaches may be caused by increased intracranial pressure stemming from an underlying process such as a brain tumor, abscess, or hematoma; meningitis; syphilis; tuberculosis; cancer; or sub arachnoid hemorrhage. Cranial changes in the skull caused by neoplasms, temporal arteritis, or involvement of the sensory nerves of the scalp with a disease such as herpes zoster also can cause headaches.
Vascular disturbances caused by exposure to toxic substances (e.g., alcohol, lead, arsenic, and carbon monoxide) are causes of headache. Some vascular headaches, such as migraines and cluster headaches, are idiopathic.
Tension headaches are most common and occur in adults across age and gender lines. Women in their early childbearing years are the most susceptible, particularly just before or during menstrual periods. Cluster headaches are most common in men in their 30s and 40s.
Disease Process Headache pain occurs when afferent pain fibers on the cranial nerves (V, VII, IX, or X) carry sensory stimuli to central nervous system tissue. The location and diffusion of the pain are dictated by the cause, the extent of tissue affected, and the cranial nerve or nerves involved. Pain can be highly localized and specific or diffuse and generalized. Involvement of the deep brain structure often causes referred pain.
Potential Complications: Complications are usually associated with an underlying disease process rather than the headache itself. However, headaches associated with temporal arteritis, if left untreated, may cause blindness.
Symptoms: Paroxysmal, throbbing, unilateral pain that lasts hours to days; cyclic pattern; possible nausea and vomiting; aversion to light and noise; may be preceded by an aura (shimmering visual manifestation) or behavioral alterations ranging from depression to euphoria or triggering food cravings . In some cases, Arteritis is frequent, as the Soreness of one or both temples that becomes a chronic, burning, well-localized pain; the affected scalp artery is prominent, tender, incompressible, and pulse less.
Diagnosis: Acupuncture does not recognize migraines and recurring headaches as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of Acupuncture techniques such as Pulse diagnosis and Inter-active Five element diagnosis to restore imbalances found in the body and mind. Therefore, your diagnosis and treatment will depend on a number of variables: Is the headache behind your eyes and temples, or is it located more on the top of your head? When do your headaches occur (i.e. night, morning, after eating)? Do you find that a cold compress or a dark room can alleviate some of the pain? Do you describe the pain as dull and throbbing, or sharp and piercing?
Acupuncture offers excellent cure: A vast majority of Migraine patients have been treated with Acupuncture and other Complementary therapies, in the Orient and in the Scientific European and American countries. Research based on Five element philosophy has revealed Hepato toxicity and sometimes Nephro toxicity to be the underlying cause. Chronic patients who had unbearable attacks over a period of more than 20 years, have been cured with a few Acupuncture sessions which had produced powerful beta blocker action and serotonin agonism.
The Acupuncture Treatment: Acupuncture points to treat headaches are located all over the body. During the acupuncture treatment, tiny needles will be placed along your legs, arms, shoulders, and perhaps even your big toe!
There seems to be little sensitivity to the insertion of acupuncture needles. They are so thin that several acupuncture needles can go into the middle of a hypodermic needle. Occasionally, there is a brief moment of discomfort as the needle penetrates the skin, but once the needles are in place, most people relax and even fall asleep for the duration of the treatment.
The length, number and frequency of treatments will vary. Typical treatments last from five to 30 minutes, with the patient being treated one or two times a week. Some symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.
Studies on Acupuncture and Headaches: Since the early seventies, studies around the globe have suggested that acupuncture is an effective treatment for migraines and headaches. Recent studies show extremely positive results:
In a case study, published in the June 2003 Issue of Medical Acupuncture, doctors found that acupuncture resulted in the resolution or reduction in the frequency and severity of cluster headaches, and a decrease or discontinuation of medications. It was concluded that Acupuncture can be used to provide sustained relief from cluster headaches and to stimulate adrenal cortisol to aid in discontinuing corticosteroids.
A clinical observation, published in a 2002 edition of the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and in a study published in the November 1999 issue of Cephalalgia, scientists evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of migraines and recurrent headaches by systematically reviewing 22 randomized controlled trials. A total of 1,042 patients were examined. It was found that headache and migraine sufferers experienced significantly more relief from acupuncture.
Acupuncture can reduce the number of days of migraine a person has a year, as well as reducing the amount of medication they need and days off work. This was derived out of a study conducted by UK Doctors.
The results of this study are published on the website of the British Medical Journal.
This study provides further evidence for the benefits of acupuncture as a treatment for migraine.
The study also shows that acupuncture appears to offer long-lasting benefits.
For details go to http://hcd2.bupa.co.uk/fact_sheets/html/acupuncture.html
How Acupunctureonline.org can help you:
1. Members can have online consultation to assess their Five element Constitution interactively, through mail.
2. Body Points for treating their Migraine or Headache (with the underlying causes) will be suggested to them (only members).
3. The points can be stimulated using a Moxa Cigar (Order Product online) or an Acupressure Probe.
4. If the members are Paramedical or Medical Professionals and competent in doing Acupuncture, the points can be punctured. (Order Needles and Charts online).
Disclaimer and Warning: Acupressure is a Self-help technique, and a complete treatment in itself, depending on Point specificity and Constitutional correctness. The Moxa Cigar or the Acupressure probe can be used safely. Acupuncture can be done only by a competent Acupuncturist. For a competent Acupuncture practitioner in your area, contact or log on to Holistic Health Hub.