Headaches and migraines are two of the most common conditions that we treat here at Acupuncture JQ. In fact, they are two of the most common medical conditions in the world. Statistics from the Migraine Trust estimate that headache disorders including migraines cost the NHS around £250 million every year!
Almost everyone suffers from the occasional headache. Some of the most common causes include stress, muscle tension, tiredness and dehydration. If you only get a headache once in a while, it can usually be treated simply by taking some paracetamol and resting. However, if you get more frequent headaches, you might want to find a more permanent solution.
Acupuncture offers a safe and natural way to relieve and prevent both headaches and migraines without the need for medication. It does this in a number of different ways:
Acupuncture Relieves Stress
If your headaches or migraines are triggered by stress, acupuncture offers an opportunity to relax and unwind after a busy day. Having the chance to simply lie down and do nothing can be relaxing in itself, but acupuncture works for stress on a much deeper level too.
Acupuncture regulates the central nervous system and the levels of certain neurotransmitters involved with our mood and emotions. It also triggers the release of endorphins which bring about a sense of general well-being as well as relieving pain.
Acupuncture Relaxes the Muscles
A common cause of headaches is muscular tension, especially the muscles of the neck and jaw. Acupuncture and other treatments such as cupping help to relieve this tension, allowing your headaches to simply melt away.
Acupuncture Reduces Inflammation and Improves Circulation
Inflammation is a common cause of pain, and may also be involved in certain types of headache. By reducing inflammation and improving local circulation, acupuncture can help to speed up the time it takes you to recover from a headache and reduce the chances of getting them in the future.
Acupuncture Relieves Nausea
If you suffer from migraines with nausea, acupuncture may be of great benefit. The acupuncture point PC6, also known as Neiguan, is located on the inside of the forearm, three finger widths from the wrist crease. This is a very useful point in the treatment of many conditions, but is most famous for its ability to relieve nausea and prevent sickness.
How Many Treatments will I Need?
If you are suffering from chronic headaches or migraines, acupuncture can be extremely helpful. However, it is not a quick fix and you may need several treatments before you can notice a big difference in your symptoms. Realistically, you may also need ongoing treatment to manage your condition in the long-run.
At Acupuncture JQ, we recommend a minimum of 4 – 6 weekly treatments to get your symptoms under control. You can then come for less frequent “top-up” treatments to keep your headaches or migraines at bay.
Managing Headaches and Migraines Naturally
There are many things you can do to try and combat headaches and migraines without the need for medication. Here are some of our top tips for natural headache and migraine relief:
This may be easier said than done, but if you can keep your stress levels down, you will reduce your chances of getting a headache or migraine too. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises to keep you feeling calm throughout the day.
Eat and Drink Regularly
Hunger and dehydration can both cause headaches, so be sure to eat at regular intervals and drink enough fluids. Limit your intake of tea and coffee as caffeine can cause withdrawal headaches if you drink a lot and suddenly stop. Alcohol is another well known cause of headaches and should be kept to a minimum.
Get Your Eyes Checked
It is important to get your eyes checked regularly, especially if you work with computers. If you need glasses or are wearing glasses with the wrong prescription, this can cause headaches as well as problems with your eyesight.
Keep a Diary
Keep a diary of your headaches or migraines including symptoms, severity, and what you have done and eaten/drunk on that day. This should help you to identify triggers and avoid them as much as possible. Many women find that they get headaches or migraines around the time of their period, and this can be an especially beneficial time to come for acupuncture treatment.
Finally, if you suddenly develop a severe headache with other symptoms, or if you get regular headaches for a long time, see your GP for further tests and advice.