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Headaches, Migraines and Acupuncture

Do you suffer from headaches? If so, you are not alone. Over 50 million of us experience some form of headache at some point in our lives. Whether you experience minor head pain or severe migraines, headaches can take valuable time out of your day and your life, and leave you searching for relief.

One option is to reach for pain relieving drugs and other pharmaceuticals. This usually works for the short term, and is usually successful in stopping a headache quickly once it has started. Unfortunately, these medications do not address the “root” causes(s) of the headaches. I guarantee you are not suffering from a deficiency of aspirin. Many of these medications, when used over long periods of time, can also cause unwanted side effects.

Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a safe and effective approach to relieving headache pain, without causing harmful side effects. Chinese medicine incorporates a comprehensive diagnostic protocol that can help me, as your acupuncturist, to understand and address the “root” cause(s) of your headaches.

There are many factors in TCM theory that may play a key role in the root cause(s) of a headache. These factors include body constitution, emotional health, excessive work, work atmosphere and conditions, social and exercise activities, improper diet, food allergies, physical trauma and hormone imbalance that can occur during pregnancy or menopause. Headaches can also be diagnosed according to specific symptoms, times of occurrence, location on the head, type of pain, headache triggers and remedies which provide relief.

Acupuncture & TCM take a whole body approach to health. If you come for an acupuncture visit with me, I will take a detailed health history and perform a physical exam to determine how and why your body’s energy, or Qi, is out of balance. This information helps me to determine what root causes are contributing to the overall problem. This will allow me to identify the type of headaches you are experiencing. By identifying and treating the underlying causes, not just treating the symptoms, I am then able to apply the most effective treatment strategy.

A key part of acupuncture and TCM is the concept of Qi. Qi (pronounced “chee”) is the vital energy that animates the body and protects it from illness. It flows through pathways in the body, similar to blood vessels and the nervous system, called meridians. The flow of Qi through the meridians provides nourishment to all of the body’s organs. When there is an imbalance or blockage in the flow of Qi, physical symptoms may result. Qi stagnation is one of the possible causes of your headaches.

During an acupuncture treatment, fine sterile needles will be inserted at specific points along the meridian pathways, in order to restore the balance and flow of Qi. Based on your unique symptoms, I will choose to concentrate on acupuncture points related to your specific diagnosis. Afterwards, a variety of self-care techniques may be prescribed to further expedite your healing process.

It is important to remember that acupuncture is not a “quick fix”. Changes may occur quickly or over a longer period of time, depending upon your overall constitution and health. It is also important to closely follow self care recommendations that I may recommend. Whether it is one visit to address a migraine that you have currently, or several visits to address a chronic problem, I will create a treatment protocol that will maximize your healing potential.

Below are a few ways that you can participate in your own healing, by making simple lifestyle changes that may help soothe, or even prevent, headache pain.

  • Track those triggers: Try to keep track of when your headaches start. Migraine sufferers may find it especially helpful to keep a diary of symptoms and possible causes. Triggers might include anything from eating chocolate, to anxiety, or inhaling specific smells. Pinpointing these triggers, and avoiding them when possible, could help.
  •  Stress relief: Stress puts a lot of strain on the body and can contribute to many types of health concerns, including headaches. Exploring healthy ways to handle stress, such as meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, walking, or a nice hot epsom salt bath are all great ways to reduce the effects of stress on the body.
  •  Exercise: Physical activity is an important part of any healthy lifestyle, and it is also a great antidote to stress. I can help recommend types of exercise that may work best for you.
  • Health habits: Making minor changes can make a big difference in your overall health and vitality. Do your best to eat healthy, organic foods and make sure you are getting enough sleep every night.

There is no reason to suffer any longer. Acupuncture care is extremely effective in reducing the frequency and severity of many types of painful conditions, including headache and migraine pain.

Call my office today, 239-260-4566, to schedule an acupuncture appointment.

I look forward to working together soon to get you on your way toward a healthier, happier, pain-free life.

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