Migraines are more than just headaches. Migraines can be an absolutely debilitating experience that has a considerable impact on people’s quality of life. The attacks can become so severe that they force the sufferer to abandon their daily activities for up to 3 days or longer. Living in fear of the next attack can make even a symptom-free day stressful.
So what can Acupuncture do for your migraines?
Acupuncture is like a fitness routine for your nervous system. Acupuncture helps to stimulate balance (or homeostasis) within the body. An Acupuncture treatment can stimulate weaker aspects of the nervous system to help regain proper function to help the nervous system adapt to the changes and stresses it experiences every day. Although the nervous system can develop weak or disharmonized areas, it is adaptable and receptive. Therefore, in order to strengthen weaker parts of the nervous system they need to be repeatedly stimulated or trained to improve; this is what Acupuncture does.
An Acupuncturist can perform a specific and individualized treatment with a combination of acupuncture points for headaches to treat your migraines.
Causes of Migraines
Although the causes are not completely understood or identified, genetic and environmental factors play a role. Under normal conditions, our nervous system adjusts to adapt to the changes around to us that we knowingly or unknowingly expose it to. When a part of the nervous system can’t react properly to these changes, that’s when a migraine or cluster headaches can occur.
Some of these changes can be related to some of the following:
- Diet, Alcohol or Medications
- Stress and Changes in Environment
- Hormone Imbalance (e.g. Serotonin)
- Sensory stimuli (e.g. Bright Lights, etc.) and Physical Exertion
- Lack of Sleep/Too Much Sleep
How Acupuncture Can Help
Eastern medicine explains that our life energy or Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) flows along the acupuncture meridians which house the acupuncture points all along the body. An uninterrupted flow of these meridians or channels within the body is what keeps us alive and healthy. Disease is said to be created from the impediment of these channels. The job of an Eastern health practitioner or Acupuncturist is to reestablish or maintain the uninterrupted flow.
There are many systems within the body that require smooth flow to work optimally (e.g. blood vessels, lymphatic system, etc.). Perhaps the idea of Qi flowing smoothly throughout a meridian to create optimal health and a system of the body, such as the blood flowing correctly, are the same concept just in ancient and modern expressions.
How Acupuncture affects your nervous system
- Acupuncture stimulates nerves. Nerves send electrical impulses to and from the spinal cord and body to allow proper and ideal communication between the organs, muscles, blood vessels, etc. For example, stimulating some nerves will increase digestive function and others will decrease the digestive function. Acupuncture works on these principles to help achieve a balanced nervous system.
- Acupuncture has been shown to help with the release of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are chemical substances that are released and carried to local or distant areas through the blood stream in order for the body to communicate and provide its own pain relief.
With a proper assessment of your overall health and lifestyle, an Acupuncturist can select specific acupuncture points for migraines to help stimulate the nervous system to regain optimal function and help manage your pain.
As part of your treatment, our practitioners can show you some acupressure points that can be done at home in order to help manage symptoms outside of the clinic. These acupressure points to relieve headaches are an easy and efficient way to help relieve pain even at the earliest onset.