Headaches are a common occurrence that nearly everyone will experience from time to time. For most people they cause mild annoyance and discomfort, but frequent headaches can become debilitating and distressing and affecting quality of life. Types of headaches include menstrual or hormonal headaches, tension headaches, sinus headaches and migraine.
Headaches have numerous underlying causes including
~ Hormone imbalances such as premenstrual headaches and migraines
~ Musculoskeletal tension
~ Anxiety and depression
~ Colds, sinus congestion and allergies
~ Food intolerances and an inflammatory diet
~ Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) and tooth grinding
Regardless of the underlying cause, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can reduce the severity and frequency of your headaches and help you get on with enjoying life.
In Traditional Chinese medicine theory, headaches are a result of stuck energy in the body. Management of your headaches involves restoring the flow of your energy. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can also assist with headaches by calming the nervous system, reducing inflammation and dissolving stress.
Acupuncture is gaining validity in the scientific community as a safe and effective treatment for headache and migraine. A systematic review of 22 clinical trials found that regular acupuncture reduces the frequency of headaches by almost half and gives slightly better results than preventative drug treatment. Another review of 12 clinical trials concluded that acupuncture is “is effective for treating frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches”
This study found that 4 weeks of regular acupuncture “significantly reduced the frequency of migraine attacks”, even after 20 weeks without treatment.
Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture can also reduce the headaches and associated symptoms of hayfever or allergic rhinitis. By supporting the immune system and decreasing the immune response, Chinese medicine can reduce sinus congestion and the resultant headaches caused by allergies.
Many women who suffer from headaches or migraine notice a relationship between the stage of their menstrual cycle and the timing of the headaches. It is thought that women who experience menstrual headaches are more sensitive to the normal hormonal fluctuations that occur throughout the cycle. Regular treatment can help to smooth out those fluctuations and diminish the body’s response to them. Chinese medicine can also be used to manage other hormone related symptoms such as pre-menstrual syndrome, period pain, hot flushes and insomnia.
Even if the cause of your headaches is unclear, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help. By unblocking and invigorating the flow of energy in your body, regular treatment can reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.