Acupuncture for headaches – a sensible alternative to medication?

Acupuncture for headaches – medication may be the cause of headaches rather than the cure

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has advised that taking analgesic medication for headaches on a regular basis may actually make headaches worse. Headache sufferers who take paracetamol, ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, either alone or in combination, for 15 days in a month or more for over 3 months are advised to seek other ways of managing their conditions as the medication may actually be causing the headaches rather than reducing their impact. In the case of migraine sufferers taking painkillers such as triptans, opioids, ergots or combination analgesics the number of days the guidelines recommend not to exceed using medication for is 10 in a month.

Acupuncture for headaches – an effective alternative to medication

The use of acupuncture for headaches has been shown to be an effective alternative to analgesic medication. A report in the December issue of ‘Anaesthesia and Analgesia’ shows acupuncture provides greater relief than either medication or placebo. Dr. Tong J. Gan, the author of the study commented that “people who get acupuncture prefer it to medication, because of the potential side effects of drugs.” For a fuller review of the article with references please follow the link -http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/16/health/research/16regi.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Acupuncture for headaches – how does it help?

Acupuncture is a centuries old system of medicine developed in the far East. The treatment aims to restore balance and harmony to the mind and body via the insertion of very fine needles into acupuncture points found all over the body. In treating headaches, points on the face and head are sometimes used in conjunction with the more commonly used points on the arms and hands and legs and feet, as well as points on the abdomen and back.

Acupuncture for headaches – a specific treatment for your headache symptoms

In the first session the acupuncturist will use the consultation to diagnose which points and course of treatment is the best for the patient and the type of headache symptoms they have. In acupuncture theory not all headaches are treated in the same way. The practitioner will ask questions to help achieve the best diagnosis and plan the best course of treatment. For example, where is the headache located and what kind of pain is experienced? Is the headache located by the temples with pain of a severe throbbing or stabbing kind? Or is it felt as a ‘helmet’ type headache that feels like pressure all around the head, or a headache on the forehead made worse by tiredness, anxiety or stress? In the consultation the practitioner will ask about what factors trigger the headaches. Are they related to stress, anxiety or emotional upset? Is the trigger tiredness or over-exertion? Are they related to temperature fluctuations (exposure to air conditioning or central heating) or triggered by dietary factors? Is there a pattern to the headaches such as they always happen in the morning or the patient wakes in the middle of the night or early hours of the morning with a throbbing headache? Are the headaches linked to the menstrual cycle? Information gathered from these type of questions will inform the acupuncturist about the best course of acupuncture for headache pain management and the goal of reducing their intensity and frequency. If you are interested in getting acupuncture for headaches call Mark on 07798622788 to find out more or book an appointment.