Acupuncture can stop headaches. In fact, 90% of the time if a patient currently has a headache when they come see me at my downtown Portland acupuncture practice, their headache will be gone by the time they leave. This isn’t magic, and it isn’t just the relaxation of the treatment. Acupuncture is a potent medicine that excels at treating headaches.
When I first got acupuncture it was for a serious anxiety disorder. The side effect of treatment was that my headaches went away. These were not occasional headaches. From the time I was at least 12 until I got acupuncture at the age of 22, I had headaches almost daily with migraines coming at least twice a month. Taking Excedrin, ibuprofen and Tylenol became routine. I had an appointment set up with a neurologist. I had absolutely no idea that something could be done about them. Acupuncture made me headache free, and now I help others achieve the same freedom.
Acupuncture releases endorphins.
Endorphins make you feel good. They are also credited as being chemical pain-killers. So it stands to reason that whatever kind of headache you have, be it a migraine, a tension headache, a sinus headache or any one of the many other kinds of headaches, the release of these endorphins is going to decrease your pain.
Acupuncture reduces inflammation.
Because inflammation is implicated in any pain, the fact that acupuncture can reduce inflammation means it would decrease the pain of your headache. Researchers think that the pain that comes from headaches may be caused by overactive brain chemicals. Acupuncture has been shown to facilitate the release of chemicals that counteract and quiet down those pain inducing chemicals.
Acupuncture releases and relaxes muscles.
Many headaches are caused by muscle tension in the surrounding areas. Do you have tight shoulders? Is that spot between your shoulder blades killing you? Is your neck tense? Your jaw? Any and all of these tight muscles can be cause for a headache, and during your acupuncture treatment, I will release those muscles so that they are no longer causing problems. Not only will your headache go away, but the other muscle tension will melt along with it.
Acupuncture frees blocked energy.
This is the part that is harder to explain, so let me use some anecdotes:
Have you ever had a fight with your partner and during that fight you felt a headache rise up? According to Chinese medicine, that is due to stress causing energy to rise up that is supposed to be anchored down. Like a balloon that has broken free from its tether, the stress caused more upward burden than the anchor could bear, and WHOOSH: headache.
Here’s another picture: Imagine you are driving south on I-5 just before the MODA Center Exit. You know the place. It’s where you have an influx of drivers but you suddenly go down to 2 lanes right under an overpass and then have to deal with cars merging onto I-5 and heading off to I-84. It’s a nightmare. And traffic slows to a crawl because you suddenly have too many cars in too small an area. This is how we view one of the causes of pain in Chinese medicine. You suddenly have energy or blood trying to get through an area that is too small to allow it to flow freely. You have an energetic back-up, and when I access just the right acupuncture points, it will open the area up and the energetic traffic jam will be over.
An acupuncturist will help you find your triggers.
This is the long-term piece. Acupuncture can slowly retrain your body to energetically handle triggers in a less intrusive way. By that I mean that if you start getting headaches every time you drive home from work, acupuncture can change that patterning so that even if the stress of the drive is still there, you will no longer get a headache from it.
But the other piece of this medicine is in treating the underlying root. As an acupuncturist I seek to discover what the causes or triggers are for your headaches so that we can come up with a plan to eliminate them (or at least to prepare for them).
You’d be amazed at how well this can work. If your hormones are causing your headaches, we balance your hormones. When certain foods trigger your headaches, you avoid those foods. If changes in the barometric pressure cause your headaches, we find a way to make you less susceptible to those changes.
This part of the treatment may include anything from keeping a food journal and making dietary changes to taking herbs to being assigned meditation or exercises. Whatever it may be, I customize the treatment to you — we focus on your headaches, your life, your triggers.
Acupuncture can help your headaches.
Headaches can be annoying or they can be debilitating. One of the hardest parts about suffering from headaches is that people who don’t get them do not understand how truly awful they can be. You are certain that other people are silently thinking that you are overreacting.
Headaches are horrible. Unlike other body pain, they make it hard to even think. And so many of the medications just don’t work. Or maybe they used to work, but now they don’t anymore.
Chronic headaches ruled my life for too many years, and I felt powerless to do anything about it. Until I discovered that acupuncture could stop them. Now you can discover that for yourself. Imagine what it would be like not to hear the rattle of your pain killers in your bag. Think of what it would mean not to have to lie in a dark room suffering through the pain. Imagine what it would be like to think clearly without the burden of a headache. It’s possible, and all you have to do is click on this link to set up your new patient appointment.