Living with chronic migraines can have a debilitating effect on a person’s quality of life. With thousands of people suffering from migraines every year, various treatment methods have emerged to help with this painful condition. In recent years, an alternative treatment with its roots in traditional Chinese medicine, known as acupuncture, has regained popularity – especially in the Western world. Receiving acupuncture for chronic migraines may effectively relieve your symptoms.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing practice that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body. Each of these points is thought to be connected by pathways of energy that create an energy flow known as Qi. When acupuncture is applied to these points, it is believed to clear blockages in the flow of Qi, restoring balance and harmony to the body. This technique may be used to treat an extensive range of conditions, including but not limited to:
- Menstrual cramps
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
What are Migraines?
Migraines are one of the most common neurological diseases, affecting over 20% of people at some point in their lives. Migraines are classified as primary headaches, which means that they are not caused due to an underlying health disorder. This condition can cause a number of symptoms, from mild throbbing to severe pain, as well as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Dizziness and blurred vision
- Loss of appetite
- Hot flashes or chills
However, symptoms may vary depending on what stage of your migraine you are experiencing. There are four phases of a migraine attack, but not everyone goes through each stage. These phases include:
- Prodrome phase: may occur hours or days before the pain arrives
- Aura phase: characterized by sensory symptoms prior to your pain
- Headache phase: when the person experiences mild to severe throbbing or pulsing in the head, often accompanied by other adverse symptoms
- Postdrome phase: when the headache has subsided, leaving a general feeling of unwellness
Migraines can be so debilitating that they can interfere with your ability to work, socialize, and even take care of your basic needs.
What Classifies Migraines as Chronic?
Although there are several kinds of migraines, chronic migraines are one of the most severe types that can affect your daily quality of life. Chronic migraines represent about 8% of migraine cases in the United States and are considered the eighth most disabling disease worldwide.
Migraines are classified as chronic based on how frequently migraines occur. While symptoms and severity of pain may vary, migraines are considered chronic when they occur at least 15 days per month, often accompanied by patients taking medications at least ten days per month, which may exacerbate their condition in the long term.
How Effective is Acupuncture for Chronic Migraines?
From studies with 20 people to those with over 49,000 participants, countless research studies have been performed across varying lengths to identify the effectiveness of acupuncture for chronic migraines. The research found the following results:
- Acupuncture may reduce chronic migraine frequency, duration, and visual analog scale (VAS) score.
- Acupuncture may lower symptoms and medication use for both short and long-term outcomes in those with chronic migraines.
- Acupuncture may help with the prevention and management of chronic migraines.
- Acupuncture may be more successful than no treatment, sham treatment, and prescribed medications.
- Acupuncture may be more effective than botox injections for chronic migraines.
- Acupuncture is associated with greater improvement of quality of life post-treatment.
- Incorporating acupuncture into traditional treatments may reduce the frequency of chronic migraines.
Get Acupuncture Treatment at Alliance Orthopedics
If chronic migraines are negatively affecting your quality of life, it may be beneficial to receive acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture for chronic migraines has been proven to have numerous benefits and may help reduce the frequency and duration of your migraines. Schedule an appointment at Alliance Orthopedics with one of our licensed acupuncturists to learn more about this Chinese healing technique.