Migraine is a Western diagnosis for a complex and incapacitating headache disorder that very often runs in families. It’s characterised by recurring moderate to severe headaches that can be accompanied by various associated symptoms such as particular sensitivity to light/sound, nausea and vomiting.
The most recent NICE guidance states that migraine attacks typically last between 4 to 72 hours in adults and 2 to 72 hours in adolescents aged under 18 years. They can have a really detrimental impact on a person’s health and wellbeing that affects their home and work or school life.
Drug treatments are often used as a preventative measure and for pain relief from acute migraine attacks.
Did you know?
According to the Migraine Trust, migraine is the third most common disease in the world, with 1 in 7 people experiencing various kinds of migraine headaches. This means over
8 million people in the UK are affected, which makes migraine headaches more common than asthma, diabetes and epilepsy combined – and they affect three times more women than men.
Traditional use of acupuncture for migraine
Migraines are often thought to be caused by emotional strain, stress, hormonal imbalances, and lack of food and/or sleep, or by a reaction to some foods or medications.
In China, acupuncture has been used for many centuries to treat all types of headache. However, in recent decades many people in Western countries have become more aware of acupuncture as a potentially helpful treatment for migraine and its popularity has increased.
The British Acupuncture Council view
Research has shown that traditional acupuncture can be very beneficial in the treatment of migraines as it tends to lessen the frequency and severity of attacks. NHS guidance confirms that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends acupuncture for headaches and migraines.
Migraines can manifest in very different ways and a fully qualified acupuncture practitioner will want to know among other things exactly where the pain is located, what the nature of the pain is and whether the patient has any accompanying symptoms. An individual diagnosis and treatment plan will then be then tailored to the patient, based on this information and their general health history.
Have a look at the British Acupuncture Council research fact sheet on migraine for more detailed information.
If you suffer with migraines and are interested in seeing if acupuncture may help you, we have a regular acupuncture clinic here at Mid Sussex Osteopaths with Christine MacFie.