If you are reading this, it is likely that you are already familiar with the definition of a migraine and just how common they are. You probably know that migraines are severe headaches which are commonly felt on one side of the head, are throbbing or pulsing in sensation and are often made more disruptive by the accompanying nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to noise and light. You are vitally aware that migraines can last for hours if not days and the pain can be so terrible that you can't proceed with your daily activities.

Some of you are also familiar with the aura that comes on before the pain of the headache. As you know, this warning symptom can involve visual disturbances (light flashes, darkening field of vision, etc) or speaking difficulties, and/or tingling on one side of the face or an extremity.

Migraines have four possible phases but you may not experience all of them, depending on the person or the particular migraine:

  • The prodrome; for some this is a set of symptoms that comes days or hours before the headache arrives.
  • The aura; which happens immediately before the headache.
  • The pain phase; when you are feeling the pain of the headache.
  • The postdrome; the hangover you feel after the headache has moved on.

Let's face it, migraines are horrible and they can be debilitating. That's where acupuncture comes in. Acupuncture is a therapeutic modality under the umbrella of Traditional Chinese Medicine. During a session, tiny hair-like needles are placed in certain points on the body and retained for about 20-25 minutes while you rest comfortably. This is nothing like vaccinations, blood draws, tattoos or botox. Acupuncture needles are so thin, you can hardly feel them and I am skilled at making the process as comfortable as possible.

Acupuncture works by calming the autonomic nervous system and bringing the body back to balance. It triggers the body's own mechanisms to heal itself; this includes the release of endogenous opioids, serotonin, and norepinephrine which may have downstream effect on nociceptors, inflammatory cytokines, and other physiologic mechanisms that can change the perception of pain. More and more studies are being conducted to get to the exact mechanism by which acupuncture is able to have such remarkable results. Click here or here to learn more.

Acupuncture is an important treatment option because not only does it reduce the severity and duration of pain during a migraine, it can also help prevent migraines and it does so with very few, if any side effects. Potential (rare) side effects of acupuncture, if performed by an experienced practitioner, are bruising or lasting needle/nerve sensation. Most people experience a feeling of calm after their treatment, along with a good sleep, better digestion, and relief from various other ailments.

Acupuncture sessions are also tailor-made for each individual depending on their gender, constitution, age, accompanying symptoms and personal migraine experience. This is just another way that acupuncture is superior to the one-size-fits-all medications that are often prescribed.

In my 13 years of experience, I have found that acupuncture is very effective for treating and preventing migraines and I treat them often. If you experience migraines, you should really give acupuncture a try.

If you have questions about acupuncture please see my FAQ page or email me at admin@thriveacupuncture.ca. If you would like to book an appointment you can do so online or by emailing me or by calling 780-905-5043.