Manage Your Migraines With Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
If your headaches are bad enough to be called migraines — that is, if you have recurrent episodes of severe pain on one side of your head or in the temple region — you know that migraines are not "all in your head." Migraines are very real, and can be both debilitating and persistent. Fortunately, acupuncture and Oriental medicine can provide you with much-needed relief. This is welcome news, as a solution for migraines has been elusive in the conventional medical world.
Traditional migraine treatments
Doctors have traditionally prescribed drugs to migraine-sufferers, with instructions to take them at the time of the attack. One problem with this approach, according to Steve Given, LAc, clinical faculty member at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, is that when the drugs wear off, there is often a "rebound headache" of equal or greater severity. Another problem is that conventional drugs usually have unwanted side-effects.
Admittedly, migraine-sufferers have found little else that provides relief besides resting in a dark room until the migraine goes away, says Given. There is no "quick fix" or easy remedy for migraines. So, a comprehensive long-term approach tends to have the best results. "You have to be pretty dedicated to treatment and you must keep working toward a resolution," explains Given.
Migraines fall into the broad category of "headaches" but are a specific kind of vascular headache. They are characterized by fairly severe pain that is episodic in nature and that manifests on one side of the head or in the temple region. Migraines are more common in women than men and often strike the week before menses begins.
Alleviating and preventing migraines
One way that a person can alleviate his or her migraines with acupuncture is to receive an acupuncture treatment at the time of the migraine. This will shorten the duration of the migraine and lessen the pain. However, a preventive approach is more effective. "You want to reduce the likelihood of a migraine starting," explains Given. To do this, he prescribes a series of eight to 10 acupuncture treatments, along with Chinese herbs. This, along with other lifestyle changes, should significantly improve a person's ability to ward off a migraine.
In addition to receiving acupuncture treatments and taking Chinese herbs, Given suggests stress-reduction techniques such as yoga and meditation. He also suggests evaluating life issues that could be contributing to the onset of migraines, such as stressors at work or home. If applicable, women should also address premenstrual symptoms with acupuncture and Chinese herbs and/or any other natural approach (recommended by a naturopathic physician).
Writer: Sydney Maupin, Staff Writer
Contributor: Steve Given, LAc
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