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Acupuncture to Relieve Migraines

Sonia Nair
Migraine headaches can be unbearable and debilitating. Even though there are medicines to prevent and control this condition, there is no complete cure. Acupuncture for migraines is fast gaining popularity, as it is considered to be one treatment method without any side effects.
Migraines are severe and chronic headaches, which can last for 3 to 72 hours. Apart from the throbbing and pulsating pain, which is usually experienced on one side of the head; the affected person may also have symptoms, like nausea with or without vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
Some people perceive warning symptoms, called auras; which include visual or olfactory experiences, like flashes of light and blind spots in vision.
It has been observed that, women are more prone to migraine; and may start showing symptoms during childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. The symptoms, severity, and frequency of migraine headaches may vary from one person to another.
The exact cause for migraine is still not known, but it is believed that, genetics and environmental factors play an important role in causing the condition. There are some triggering factors, like certain foods, weather changes, stress, hormonal changes in women, and changes in sleep pattern.
The conventional treatment involves use of drugs to relieve the symptoms, and to prevent migraine attacks. Even abortive medication is prescribed, to abort impending migraine attacks. Such medications should be taken before the onset of the symptoms, in order to be effective.
Most often, it happens that such conventional treatment may turn ineffective in preventing migraine attacks. Treatments for migraine are offered by almost all wings of alternative medicine. Acupuncture is found to be effective in treating migraine, to a certain extent.

Acupuncture Treatment

Acupuncture is a popular therapy, which comes under the umbrella of traditional Chinese medicine. It involves stimulation of specific points of the body using various techniques.
Among them, insertion of hair thin needles into the strategic points in the body is one of the most widely-accepted technique. These points are positioned along the meridians through which energy flows.
As per the theory of acupuncture, any blockage in the free flow of energy through the meridians leads to diseases, and acupuncture aims to restore the balanced flow of energy in the body. Acupuncture is used for treating various diseases, and is said to be very effective in providing relief to people with back pain, high blood pressure, and headaches.

How is Migraine Treated with Acupuncture

Finding the location of pain

An acupuncturist has to find out the exact location and type of pain, experienced by the patient. Migraine pain may develop on different locations, like behind the eye, above the eyebrow or one side of temple.
Migraine pain is often described as throbbing or shooting type. Some may experience dull pain too. Once the exact location and nature of the pain is determined, the acupuncturist can find out the area where the flow of energy is blocked.


The acupuncturist has to determine the strategic points to be stimulated, in order to restore the flow of energy. Some acupuncturists are of the opinion that, using needles to stimulate points in the head and the neck may increase the pain.
So they suggest stimulation of specific points on the arms and legs, that too in a sitting position. Through this method, acupuncture provides pain relief for migraines.
Even though acupuncturists use different techniques to prevent and cure migraines, they are not as effective as those employed for providing pain relief. Recent studies show that acupuncture is one of the popular methods for relief from pain associated with migraines.
However, the effectiveness of this method in preventing migraine attacks (migraine prophylaxis) or curing migraines, is still in question. Make sure to approach a qualified and licensed acupuncturist for such treatment. You may also seek the opinion of your health care provider, before starting the treatment.
Disclaimer: This story is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.