Maybe you may have heard others talking about having acupuncture to relieve their migraines. Have you ever wondered just how it works?
Those who suffer from them know better than anybody how excruciating the pain can be, and how drastically it can interfere with your quality of life. Though medical treatments exist to either stop a migraine after it has already started, or prevent it from happening, many people have a hard time tolerating the side effects of these medications. A few still unluckier people experience no relief despite taking medication.
Luckily, an alternative exists. Recent research continues to support the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic migraine headache. A recent study conducted over 20 weeks in Melbourne, Australia, illustrated the efficacy of acupuncture. Participants, all migraine sufferers, were divided into two groups, real acupuncture and sham acupuncture. Members of both groups had a total of 16 treatments over 20 weeks. At the end of the evaluation period, the real acupuncture group reported a significant decrease in frequency, duration, and overall pain level of attacks when compared to the sham acupuncture group. On top of these findings, the real acupuncture group reported taking fewer painkillers at the end of the course of treatment, and also reported an increased quality of life and emotional well-being as part of a self-evaluation.
Those who suffer from migraines but have experienced the benefits of acupuncture can certainly speak to how valuable it is as a therapy, but it has only been recently that we have had the technology to understand just how acupuncture exerts its positive effects on the body, as shown in this next study. Seeking to understand why acupuncture is effective in treatment of headache, both migraine and other, a group of Chinese researchers performed baseline magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI) on a group of trial participants, all chronic migraine sufferers. All participants received four weeks of regular acupuncture treatment and were then given another MRI scan. The second MRI scan revealed that at the end of four weeks of treatment, there was increased communication between the frontal and temporal lobes of participants’ brains, which is a key factor in the modulation of pain. A better connected brain means a brain which does a better job dealing with pain. Initial scans of the participants did not show this connectivity.
Chronic and migraine headache is one of the most common complaints we see in the clinic here. If you are suffering from headaches, call us and let us see how we can help you.
[written by Molly]