Acupuncture For Headache
Headaches are very common, and nearly all of us will experience the occasional headache as a result of poor sleep, a viral infection, eye strain, or diet. However, when headaches start to become a more frequent occurrence, and impact on daily life, they become a more significant issue.
To gather an idea about just how many people are affected by headaches, the World Health Organization reported that 50 to 75 percent of adults aged between 18 and 65 years in the world had a headache in the past year. Migraines, a more severe form of headache, are said to affect 12% of the American population, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.
The simplest way to treat headaches is to take a pain-relief medication and get on with your day. But if headaches become a near-daily issue, painkillers are not an effective long-term solution. Holistic treatments like acupuncture will work far more effectively to treat the cause of the pain, rather than simply masking it for a limited period of time.
How Acupuncture for Headache Works
Acupuncture treatment for headaches combines a number of methods to relieve pain, promote muscle relaxation and reduce the body’s stress response.
During treatment, an acupuncture therapist will insert small needles into specific areas of the body, known as pressure points. Targeted pressure points for headaches include the space between the thumb and forefinger, the “third eye” point between the two eyes, the back of the neck, and the outer nose bridge.
These needles incite a response in the nervous system, which stimulates the brain to produce painkillers that work to treat headaches naturally.
For patients who suffer with tension headaches, the positioning of acupuncture needles can also signal the brain to send an increased blood flow to the head and neck, relaxing the muscles at the site. Additionally, acupuncture brings the heart rate down and regulates the nervous system, leading to a reduction in stress – a leading cause of headache.
Proven Benefits of Acupuncture for Headache
There are numerous current and historical studies that support the benefits of acupuncture for headache.
A recent medical report reviewed 22 clinical trials and summarized that acupuncture reduces the occurrence of migraines, and may even be as effective as preventative over-the-counter medication. Up to 59% of participants receiving acupuncture experienced 50% less headaches than participants who received no acupuncture.
Another study, which focused on acupuncture for tension-type headache, found that acupuncture decreased the number of days participants experienced headaches during a four-week trial period, proving that acupuncture was more effective than no treatment or minimal acupuncture treatment.
The Future of Acupuncture for Headache
Acupuncture produces much better long-term results for tension headache and migraine sufferers. By preventing the cause of the pain, rather than reducing an existing pain, acupuncture can reduce the need for self-medicating on a regular basis. As a holistic, non-invasive therapy, acupuncture is the preferred option for a growing number of people looking to naturally treat symptoms of headache.