Posts Tagged ‘chronic headaches’
Sep 21, 2012
Many people with chronic headaches take pain killers almost daily. But a report from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the United Kingdom asserts that taking too many pain killers is actually making your headaches worse. The guidelines define overuse of pain medication for more than 15 days out of the month.
Types of chronic headaches include migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches among others. What happens is the brain becomes accustom to the medication, which makes it require more and more medication for relief. But taking more of the medication may actually lead to another more intense headache. This can lead to a cycle of headaches and pain relievers causing more headaches.
The guidelines suggest that the best thing to do is stop taking the medications and work to prevent the headaches with treatments such as acupuncture.
Acupuncture and Headaches
Acupuncture is unlike taking a pill. Rather than simply stopping pain, acupuncture is also a tool to prevent headaches. As an acupuncturist, we say that acupuncture works by correcting imbalances in the body that are causing the headache. Once the imbalance is corrected you can experience long lasting pain relief.
Also, there are physiological reasons that acupuncture has a long term reduction on pain. Acupuncture has been shown to reduce pain by regulating neural pain pathways, stimulating the release of the body’s natural pain relievers, as well as regulating pain relieving receptors. This regulation of the brain and the central nervous system is an important factor in the long lasting impact of acupuncture.
Sep 12, 2012
Acupuncture is famous for the treatment of chronic pain. Chronic pain is one of the most common health concerns I see in my NYC acupuncture clinic. Back pain, headaches, migraines, shoulder pain, knee pain, neuropathy, arthritis, and other chronic pain conditions. Patients can have profound results.
In the clinic we know acupuncture is effective for pain, but often skeptics are vocal opponents because they believe that there is not enough research.
Recently, a very large analysis of research trials, called a meta-analysis, was published focusing on acupuncture for pain. The meta-analysis shows that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of pain. This was across many pain conditions including back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headaches, and shoulder pain.
Andrew Vickers PhD, the head author, and his team painstakingly reviewed virtually all of the acupuncture research trials which have focused on pain. They had strict criteria for the quality of the studies to be included in their analysis. In the end, the group used 29 acupuncture studies which included 17922 total patients.
The results of the study showed that acupuncture was much better than no-acupuncture control groups across the studies. The acupuncture was also better than placebo acupuncture across the groups. The difference between real and placebo acupuncture was not as large as the difference between acupuncture and no acupuncture. However, the numbers are large enough to show a real difference between placebo and real acupuncture for pain reduction.
Jan 17, 2012
Acupuncture can target chronic pain in any location of the body. Sometimes, an acupuncturist will put needles in the place of the pain. But other times an acupuncturist will place needles far away from the location, such as in acupuncture points on the legs and feet for chronic headaches.
The primary way acupuncturists can focus the treatment for chronic pain in specific places because of the acupuncture channels. Acupuncture channels connect different parts of the body and run along different places in the body. The acupuncture channels create a type of map that interconnects different regions of the body.
For example, the Large Intestine acupuncture channel starts on the hand, up the forearm, through the shoulder to the face. This is why LI 4 on the hand can be very effective for frontal and sinus headaches.
On the other hand, the Gall Bladder channel runs from the toes, along the sides of the body, and then to the sides of the head. This is why Gall Bladder 34 near the knee can be effective for headaches on the side or temples.
Auricular acupuncture, or ear acupuncture, is particularly effective for chronic pain.
In acupuncture, the ear lobe provides a map of the body with points for specific areas and organs.
In ear acupuncture, the best way to target the chronic pain is to find the most sensitive points in the ear for that region and place the needle in that acupuncture point.
Nov 28, 2011
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. Everyone gets them from time to time, but in some it may become chronic. There is no need to suffer, acupuncture can treat your headaches and help you feel better.
You probably know when you have a tension headache. It is usually a dull aching pain that can come from being stressed out, upset, too tired, overworked, or stared at your computer too long.
There is often accompanied with tension of the neck muscles, pressure in the forehead, temples, or base of the skull.
For most people, the headache will last a few minutes to a few hours, but some have chronic headaches which occur for a long time. Severe chronic headache suffers can have it for more than a few days or months. Most cases are not an emergency, but if you experience an abrupt severe headache with a feeling of a snap in you head or if you headache is accompanied by a fever or trauma, you should go to the emergency room.
How does Acupuncture approach headaches?
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine work by addressing imbalances in the body. Once the imbalance is corrected, the body works to heal itself.
Each person’s imbalance can be different. The treatment is tailored specifically to your symptoms and complaints.
When it comes to chronic pain conditions, it is important to consider both the mind and the body, which effect one another. Chinese medicine is quite specific about this, and each organ is effected by different emotions.
Often with headaches, the diagnosis can be associated with imbalances in the body’s energy, or qi. Qi is the body’s energy (Qi is pronounced “chee,” and is sometimes spelled “chi.”).
In Chinese medicine, it is said “When the qi flows there is no pain, when qi stops, there is pain and illness.” When qi circulation is damaged, it is called qi stagnation. This can often happen from stress and anxiety. There can also be too little qi, what we call qi vacuity.
Acupuncture Treatment of Headaches
Acupuncture works to correct the imbalance causing the qi stagnation. An effective acupuncture treatment is based upon a specific and accurate diagnosis. The acupuncture point selection is tailored to the patients imbalance. For example, if there is qi vacuity, we may focus on the acupuncture points Kidney 3, Spleen 9, and Lung 5. But if it is based in qi stagnation, the the acupuncture points liver 3, Large Inesting 4, and Gall Bladder 34 may be selected.
Also combining acupressure with the acupuncture helps to relieve the muscle tension also associated with the tension headaches. Usually people will feel relief after only a few weekly visits.
Physiological, acupuncture works to reduce pain and inflammation through regulating neural pain pathways, stimulating the release of natural pain relievers in the body, such as opioids, as well as regulating pain relieving opioid receptors.
Acupuncture is also very relaxing. Most people feel very calm during the treatment and after the acupuncture treatment. This is because acupuncture does not separate the body and the mind. The mind influences the body, and the body influences the mind. So in treating the body we also relax the mind.
written by Joseph Alban
Last Edited 11/14/2011
Oct 5, 2011
Below is in-depth information about conditions we commonly treat. No list can be complete. If you do not see your concern please call and ask us about it.
Many of the diseases on this list are linked to articles we’ve written.
- Chronic pain
- Chronic low back pain
- Neck pain
- Knee pain
- Shoulder pain
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Frozen Shoulder
- Atopic eczema
- Pompholyx eczema
- Nummular Eczema
- Perioral Dermatitis
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome
- Overactive bladder
- Interstital cystitis
- Bladder Spasms
- Frequent Urination
- Post Prostate Cancer Recovery
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Acupuncture for IVF
- Painful and Irregular Cycles
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Poor Digestion
- Nausea and morning sickness
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
Mar 24, 2009
People who have migraine headaches and other chronic headache know from experience that the weather can be a trigger.
Earlier this month, the largest study to date examining weather patterns and headaches was published in the journal Neurology. It reported that an increase in temperature was the most likely factor to cause a headache. Also, an increase in humidity was a factor for most types of headaches.
Chinese medicine has known this for a long time. Weather and climatic factors are one of the major causes of disease in Chinese medicine. We even go farther. Often the metaphor of weather patterns– wind, dampness, heat, cold, and dryness—are used as descriptions of the pattern of symptoms you are experiencing.
Why does weather affect headaches so much?
While Western science cannot fully explain this phenomenon (the link may be due to dehydration, but we’re not sure) Chinese medicine has long had an explanation which is linked with their view of health and disease.
Chinese medicine believes that health is based upon balance and harmony. Imbalances in the body and between the body and our environment are the causes of diseases. If you get headaches when it is hot or humid, it is because there is a disharmony in the body which is reacting to the environmental trigger.
It’s really your Liver and your Qi
The most common pattern for chronic headaches that are caused by hot weather is a Liver disharmony. It can also be a disharmony of your qi, or energy. Please note that the organs in Western Medicine and Chinese medicine often have the same name, but don’t worry, an imbalance in your Chinese Liver does not mean your Western liver is diseased.
Disharmony of the Liver- This is a common imbalance that is the root cause of many migraine headaches. This imbalance is often caused by a lack of blood and fluids which moisten the liver. It can also be caused by stress and anger, which impedes the circulation of the qi in the body. The reason heat would cause a migraine with this pattern is because the lack of fluids effects the ability to cool the body and makes you more susceptible to heat.
Disharmony of your Qi- This is a common headache people get when it is hot or humid out. Qi is the body’s vital energy which circulates in the body. Extremely hot weather can cause damage to your qi and cause it not to circulate appropriately in the body. This makes you feel tired, achy, and can cause a severe headache.
Some people also have dampness inside the body. Those with dampness will have chronic sinus problems, digestive issues, lethargy, may be overweight, and a heavy feeling in the body. These people will feel bad with both hot and humid weather.
For those with headaches that are sensitive to weather changes, there is hope. We cannot change the weather, but through individualized acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment, you can change the imbalance in the body that is making you sensitive to the weather patterns.
Learn more about heat and headaches
- Cooling Summertime Tea
- Acupuncture for Sinus Headaches
- Its Official, Acupuncture Can Relieve Your Headache
Feb 3, 2009
Headaches suck. The pounding and pressure really can be very severe and greatly impact your life.
But, there is hope, acupuncture can help by relieving the pain from many types of chronic headaches including migraines, tension headaches, and sinus headaches. And recently, the research is supporting this idea.
The Metanalysis on Acupuncture for Headaches
A recent metanalysis of 31 studies, in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, showed that acupuncture was more effective than both medication and placebo acupuncture. For those who do not know, a metanalysis is a more definitive study which examines many many previously performed studies. The studies showed that acupuncture was stronger than placebo acupuncture for reducing headaches, and even stronger than medication for reducing headache frequency, intensity, and overall physical function.
How does acupuncture work to treat headaches?
The body is amazing at healing itself. And if everything is working well there is no need for help, your headaches will not become chronic.
When there is an imbalance, it can cause long term illnesses and pain. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine work by correcting these imbalances in the body. Once the imbalance is corrected, the body can then works to heal itself. Each person’s imbalance is different and the diagnosis must be based on your specific symptoms.
What are the most common imbalances that cause headaches?
When comes to headaches, the imbalance is often rooted in the circulation or production of the body’s energy, qi.
Qi circulates in the body. When there is stress, trauma, or other illness, the qi circulation can slow down and become stagnated. Someone with qi stagnation will have headaches that are intense, worse with stress, neck pain, ribside pain, possible insomnia, and digestive problems.
Another imbalance can be too little energy, or what is called qi deficiency. If there is too little energy, then people will feel tired, get bloated after they eat, and have a weak pulse.
What is treatment like?
An effective acupuncture treatment is based upon a an accurate diagnosis of the imbalance. Acupuncturists will ask in depth questions, take your pulse, and look at your tongue to make the correct diagnosis.
I prefer to use only few needles because I target the precise cause to achieve powerful results. In addition, I will combine acupressure, Chinese medicine massage, with the acupuncture to create greater results and a stronger sense of relaxation. Usually people will feel relief after only a few weekly visits.