Acupuncture has been found to reduce the frequency of headaches compared to taking no preventative measures (such as drugs or relaxation techniques). These results suggest that acupuncture can potentially reduce the frequency of migraine or tension headaches.
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
- Reducing inflammation
- Reducing the degree of cortisol 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)
- 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.)
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends acupuncture for migraine. Information released by NICE reported medication overuse is one of the most common causes of headaches affecting about one in 50 people.
Colette Assor Lic ACc MBAcC is a proud member of the British Acupuncture Council and has almost 20 years clinical experience. We are based at North West London Physiotherapy Centre, Hendon & Finchley, N12. We have seen many people with migraine and headache. Please read our facebook reviews page or our testimonials page.