Migraines and Headaches

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This is rapidly becoming one of the best known conditions we treat. So much so that the Mayo clinic, Cochrane Review, and Harvard Medical both recommend Acupuncture as a highly effective treatment for Migraines, and for other headaches also.

Acupuncture has been demonstrated to reduce frequency and intensity of migraines and other headaches (such as tension and chronic type headaches), and for sufferers to require reduced dosages of medication and other interventions.Reviews of Acupuncture consistently demonstrate that it is at least as effective, and sometimes more so, than other kinds of treatment for migraine.

Migraine is thought to begin as an electrical phenomenon in the cerebrum that then affects blood vessels, biochemistry, and causes neurogenic inflammation.

Acupuncture can help in the treatment of migraine by:
• Providing pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurochumoral factors and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Zhao 2008, Zijlstra 2003, Pomeranz, 1987)
• Reducing inflammation – by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003).
• Reducing the degree of cortical spreading depression (an electrical wave in the brain associated with migraine) and plasma levels of calcitonin gene- related peptide and substance P (both implicated in the pathophysiology of migraine) (Shi 2010).
• Modulating extracranial and intracranial blood flow (Park 2009).
• Affecting serotonin (5-hydroxytriptamine) levels in the brain (Zhong 2007). (Serotonin may be linked to the initiation of migraines; 5-HT agonists (triptans) are used against acute attacks.)

References:

Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR. Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD001218. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub2 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub2/pdf/abstract
Wang,Y Xue,C, Helme, R, Da Costa,C and Zheng,Z “Acupuncture for Frequent Migraine: A Randomized, Patient/Assessor Blinded, Controlled Trial with One-Year Follow-Up” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/920353
Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR. Acupuncture for tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD007587. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007587. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007587/pdf/abstract