Is Acupuncture Effective for Treating Migraines?

Acupuncture treatments for migraine headaches are growing in popularity.

Acupuncture treatments for migraine headaches are growing in popularity.The author, Robbert Goddard, once said, “There must be something to acupuncture – you never see any sick porcupines.”

While that might be a funny quote, acupuncture has been shown to be very effective at treating migraines for many people.

Acupuncture is one of those treatment methods that many people don’t understand and for that reason, don’t believe in it either. Yet, we should always strive to keep an open mind and give it a try. Don’t knock it unless you have tried it.

Treating Migraines with Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a holistic method of treatment and just like most holistic treatments; it will take time for its efficacy and benefits to be seen. You can’t cure your migraines overnight with acupuncture but over time after repeated sessions, you will notice that you get migraine headaches less often and when you do get them, they will be less intense.

Thousands of people with migraines have benefited from acupuncture. Yet, this is not a perfect solution for everyone. In fact, nothing is perfect for everyone. You will have to try it for yourself and see how it affects you. Does it help? Or are the efforts an exercise in futility? This will depend on your body.

Either way, if you do not try, you will not know.

What truly matters is that you find a qualified acupuncturist to treat you. Since it is a Chinese form of alternative medicine, in most cases, the advanced practitioners will most probably be Chinese. You may find them with practices in the major cities. They can be relatively difficult to find in the smaller communities.

Acupuncture Can Work Well with Other Migraine Remedies

Acupuncture for migraines should be used together with medication, a nutrient rich diet, relaxation techniques, natural remedies, etc. It is not a one-stop solution. You should think of it more as one of the tools that you are using in conjunction with other tools to battle migraines.

It would be unwise to skip on your prescribed pain medication for migraines just because you are going for acupuncture. These are not mutually exclusive treatments. Go ahead and take the beta blockers the doctor gave you and go for your acupuncture sessions too.

Many people expect miraculous results from acupuncture and when they do not see changes overnight, they automatically assume that it’s all a fake and “in the mind”. You must have patience and exercise common sense which is often not so common.

How Long to See Migraine Relief with Acupuncture Treatments?

Studies have shown that people who went for 10 acupuncture sessions over the duration of six weeks had positive effects. Their migraines occurred less frequently, for shorter durations and were less painful. The acupuncture was as effective as the beta blockers that doctors traditionally prescribe.

The way acupuncture works is by inserting needles into various points in the body. As scary as this might sound, it’s often painless. The aim of acupuncture is to correct imbalances within the body. Once this is achieved, the body will be stronger and less prone to health problems such as migraines. That summarizes the theory of acupuncture.

In reality, millions have benefited from acupuncture that has been used to treat a variety of disorders from infertility to even respiratory conditions. So, this is a method of treatment that can be highly effective. You will just need to give it a try and see if it helps you.


Menstrual Migraines

Menstrual Migraines can affect as much as half of all women during their menstrual cycle.

Menstrual Migraines can affect as much as half of all women during their menstrual cycle.It’s a proven fact that women are 3 times more prone to migraines. If that wasn’t bad enough, menstruation also has an impact on migraines. Some women have the worst of both worlds between typical migraines and menstrual migraines combined.

Migraines by their very nature are a complex condition that doctors are still trying to understand. Different people have different migraine triggers and even the symptoms may differ greatly. It all depends on the person.

One lady may feel fine after 30 minutes while another may feel nauseous, have partial vision loss and even feel debilitated to the point where she can’t function normally. It all depends on the person affected.

About Half of All Women Experience Some Form of Menstrual Migraines

About 50 percent of women experience migraine before and during their menstrual cycle. This is due to the hormonal changes within the body at this time. Most of the time they would have had their first migraine attack during the onset of puberty when they had their first period.

It can be extremely stressful and traumatic to have both migraines and periods at the same time.

The migraines are triggered by fluctuating estrogen levels and the release of a fatty acid known as prostaglandin. The best way to find out if there is connection between your menstrual cycles and migraines will be to keep a journal and record down migraine attacks and the date and time they occur.

Track your menstrual cycles and see if a pattern emerges over a period of 3 months.

Menstruation may be a trigger for migraines but there is also a condition known as menstrual migraine. It is the result of falling estrogen levels and menstrual migraine has 2 subtypes. There are menstrual migraines with aura and menstrual migraines without aura.

It has been noted that migraines without aura usually precede menstruation 2 days earlier and tend to occur right up till the third day of the period.

There are treatment options available to women suffering from menstrual migraines and your doctor will be the best person to advice you. In most cases, over-the-counter medication is not going to be enough to deal with menstrual migraines because it is hormone related.

The treatment your doctor will prescribe you will depend on the severity of the migraines, the regularity of your menstrual cycles, the type of periods you have and other factors that must taken into consideration too.

If a woman has heavy periods accompanied by painful migraines, the doctor will usually prescribe an anti-inflammatory painkiller. Low levels of estrogen will mean having to get more estrogen into the system.

This can be done through oral supplement, gel or skin patches. It is best to top up your estrogen levels before and during your period. Using estrogen gels are an excellent way for the body to absorb estrogen into the blood stream.

You must exercise caution when taking estrogen pills and they should be avoided if you are pregnant or trying for a baby. Once again, you should speak to your doctor. Don’t take any chances and self-medicate. Menstrual migraine symptoms can be alleviated to a large degree if you are well-prepared. So, do what needs to be done so that you will not be subject to excruciating headaches. Forewarned is forearmed.


What is Ocular Migraine?

Ocular migraines may not hurt bad but it can be scary with vision loss.

Ocular migraines may not hurt bad but it can be scary with vision loss.The Good and Bad News of Ocular Migraines

This is a good news and bad news situation. The good news is that ocular migraines are painless, harmless and don’t require medication. The bad news is that they temporarily affect your vision in one or both eyes. To the first time sufferer, this can be terrifying because they may worry that they are going blind.

The reality is that this is a temporary situation and in about 20 minutes or so, your ocular migraine will vanish as fast as it came. It’s really no cause for concern. So, you can allay your fears.

It would be best to get confirmation from your doctor that you really do suffer from ocular migraines and not other eye issues such as blood flow problems in the arteries behind the retina.

The cause for ocular migraines varies from individual to individual. It is not a very common form of migraine and affects about 15% of women and 6% of men. Women are 3 times more predisposed to migraines.

Scientists have mentioned that it could be due to genetics and 70 percent of people who have migraines usually have a family history of migraines. The disorder is characterized by the release of inflammatory substances deep within the brain.

These substances affect the blood vessels and nerves around affected area leading to headaches and ocular migraines. While doctors and scientists understand how migraines occur, nobody is really sure why they occur.

Poor Diet – A Common Culprit of Ocular Migraines

There are some common culprits that have been identified as migraine triggers. A poor diet that is high in processed food, caffeine, refined sugar, etc. has been known to raise one’s risk of getting migraines. Foods high in artificial sweeteners and food additives such as monosodium glutamate are also potential migraine triggers.

Like Hippocrates, once said, “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.” There is a wealth of wisdom in this one line that seems to have been forgotten by most people today. The food you eat is the most important factor for good health. Yet, most people will say, “Hippocrates who? Forget him! Let me just grab those crates of beer for the party later!”

Ocular migraines have a few other names such as retinal migraines, eye migraines and ophthalmic migraines. While the names differ, it’s the same thing.

If you have migraine headaches where your head actually hurts and is accompanied by a partial loss of vision, this is not ocular migraine. It is an aura and is a migraine symptom which is usually accompanied by a throbbing sensation on one side of the head.

When you have an ocular migraine, your vision will be distorted and you may see blind spots that seem to get bigger. This is known as a scotoma and the blind spot will be surrounded by lights that are either bright, flickering or flashing. None of this is actually happening in your external environment. It’s only in your eyes.

To make matters worse, the blind spot may move through your field of vision during the entirety of the episode which usually lasts from 20 to 30 minutes. It’s best to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery during an ocular migraine.

Most ocular migraines will go away with time and there is nothing to panic about. Speak to your doctor and he or she will advise you about your condition and any possible measures you can take to alleviate the condition. That’s the best thing that you can do because there’s really nothing much else that you can do.