Acupuncture is a type of traditional Chinese medicine that places needles at specific points on the skin. The idea is to change the flow of energy through the body, bringing about balance and harmony. Acupuncturists also say that it increases blood circulation, helps the body release pain-relieving chemicals such as endorphins, and relaxes the muscles.
Several studies suggest that acupuncture may help treat pain including headaches and migraine. Some of the benefits of acupuncture to treat migraine include:
1. Migraine Prevention
A growing body of research suggests that acupuncture may help prevent migraine headaches or decrease occurrences. It may be more effective than popular migraine remedies, including prescription migraine medications.
2. Fewer Side-Effects
People can experience unpleasant side effects with migraine medication or have medical conditions that make standard medicines unsafe. Acupuncture can be a viable alternative in such cases.
3. Cost Savings
Some migraine therapies are expensive, and insurance coverage may not fully cover the costs. Acupuncture may help reduce the cost of managing chronic migraine, and some insurance plans may cover it.
Acupuncture Risks and Shortcomings
Like all medical treatments, acupuncture poses some risks including:
1. Injuries from Acupuncture Needles
Infection and disease can spread through unclean acupuncture needles. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health acupuncture that is performed with substandard or dirty equipment can pose a very serious health risk. The FDA regulates acupuncture needles and requires that they be single-use only.
2. Diagnosis Error
Not all headaches are migraine headaches. When most people hear the term migraine, they often think of a severe headache. But headaches are only one symptom of migraines and they can range in severity and length. People who substitute acupuncture for medical care may not receive appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
3. Short-Term Side Effects
Older research from 2010 suggests that about 10% of people report mild, short-term side effects following acupuncture. These include fatigue, headache, nausea, and other similar symptoms.
General Guidelines for Acupuncture
Consult Your Medical Provider before Trying Acupuncture
In some cases, a doctor can refer a patient to a reputable acupuncturist. This will prevent people from having to visit unqualified and unprofessional acupuncturists.
Consult a Licensed Acupuncturist.
Ensure that the acupuncturist is licensed by reading reviews. People can find a licensed acupuncturist through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine’s website
Monitor Your Headache Symptoms
By keeping track of headache symptoms and how frequently it is occurring can help determine how well the acupuncture treatment is working.
Migraine headaches can cause painful symptoms that make daily life challenging. There are increased numbers of research suggesting that acupuncture may help people manage and reduce their symptoms. People should consider seeing a migraine specialist, especially if medication or acupuncture does not work. The right combinations of interventions may help someone find relief from their symptoms.
At Natural Life Acupuncture & Wellness, we focus on the treatment and the relief of acute and chronic pain. We are a team of physical medicine providers that utilize both traditional and medical pain management to help our patients get out of pain quickly and effectively. Contact us today for a free health evaluation and assessment: (505) 298-4325.