Suffering from migraine? Can acupuncture help?

Migraine Awareness Week - September 2nd to September 8th 2018

If you suffer from migraine you know only too well the agony of the throbbing pulsating pain, often accompanied by increased sensitivity to light, or aura, nausea and vomiting.

What causes Migraine?

Everyone is different, and the causes of migraine are varied, as shown in this list of common triggers:

· Diet

· Environment

· Medication

· Environmental issues such as smoky rooms, bright or flickering lights.

· Stress

· Muscular tension

· For women, migraine can also be linked to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle.

What can I do?

Lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, getting good quality sleep, keeping hydrated, and avoiding common triggers such as alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and chocolate could all help you to manage migraine attacks.

It can help to keep a diary. Note when attacks take place and see if you can identify a pattern.

Conventional Treatment

Treatment usually focuses on relieving migraine symptoms rather than providing a cure. Over the counter painkillers can be useful but taken too often they can make migraines worse, causing a “painkiller headache”, and they can exacerbate some other conditions.

The next line of action is often a class of drugs called triptans, which are thought to narrow the blood vessels around the brain. These vessels usually widen during a migraine attack. Triptans can have several side effects and can also result in overuse headaches. Your doctor may prescribe anti-sickness drugs (anti-emetics). These can also have side effects such as drowsiness and diarrhoea.

The NHS recommend seeing your doctor if you have migraines on more than five days a month.

Can Acupuncture Help?

The NHS advisory service, The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), recommend acupuncture for the treatment of migraines and chronic headaches. Acupuncture has been found to be more effective than basic or no treatment, and at least as effective as some drug treatments, but with little risk of side effects.

Acupuncture is also a very safe practice when performed by a properly qualified acupuncturist.

Acupuncture can help migraines by:

· Providing pain relief.

· Reducing inflammation.

· Reducing the electrical stimulus in the brain associated with migraine.

· Modulating blood flow and reducing blood pressure in the brain.

· Affecting serotonin levels. Serotonin based drugs are often used in the treatment of migraine, but are time limited because of the potential side effects.

An acupuncturist trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees you as an individual and will tailor treatment to you. Your acupuncturist aims to identify and resolve the underlying causes of your migraines to prevent future attacks as well as reducing the symptoms.

If you would like to know more about how acupuncture can help you, or would like a free 20-minute consultation, contact Jane on 07739 417165 or

Website Links


British Acupuncture Council

Migraine Action

The Migraine Trust

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