Headache is a common complaint, with both tension and migraine headache being among the most common. For some, it's an occasional tension headache associated with too much desk work or stress, but for others, headaches are a part of daily life, sometimes even including severe migraines that impair one’s ability to function and lead a normal life.
WHAT IS A HEADACHE?
While it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of headaches, all evidence points to it being multifactorial, meaning it can involve any combination of muscular tension, hyper-sensitive pain receptors, hormonal imbalances, and blood flow issues all relative to the neck and head area.
Tension headaches are the most common form of headache, characterized by a dull ache or pressure in the head and/or neck. They usually occur when muscles in the head and neck are overly tense. If this type of headache occurs more than 15 days per month for three months or longer, it is considered to be chronic.
Severe tension headaches are often mistaken for migraines, and some chronic sufferers actually experience both. A migraine typically occurs with other symptoms such as visual disturbances, nausea and/or vomiting.
TREATING HEADACHES WITH ACUPUNCTURE
Acupuncture has shown to be an effective treatment option for chronic headaches as well as for the prevention of migraines. By stimulating the areas of tension, acupuncture treatments can help with the following:
Improving blood circulation by reducing inflammation and regulating the chemicals in the brain that control the constriction of blood vessels
Strengthening immune function which helps regulate inflammation and the production of prostaglandins
While results are often noticeable right away, long term improvements require a series of treatments. An herbal formula is another option that may be recommended, which can enhance the results of regular acupuncture treatments.
Depending on the severity and frequency of headaches, treatment courses can range from weeks to months. During that time we continually monitor progress and to ensure symptoms have improved and that there is still value in continuing treatment.