Anyone who experiences migraines knows that it only causes extreme misery. These forms of headache can be seriously debilitating and can impact a person’s quality of life in a huge way. Migraines can be as mild as a slight headache to extremely severe painful exploding episodes that may last for a number of days. Migraine patients describe their migraine as a throbbing or pounding feeling usually affecting one side of the head. Really severe headaches can cause a nauseous or vomiting sensation, fatigue, scent, light or noise hypersensitivity, and blurred vision.
Western medicine has no explanation what actually causes migraines although scientists believe that a highly sensitive nervous system that is easily affected by changes in the environment can cause this condition. The hypersensitivity is connected with the dilation of the blood vessels and serotonin metabolism surrounding the cranium. Lower serotonin levels (hormones associated with happy sensations) is usually detected when a migraine episode is about to begin. The low serotonin levels disrupt the processing system of the brain and spark the release of chemicals that generate inflammation and pain and trigger the fight or flight response in the sympathetic nervous system. People suffering from chronic migraines usually also suffer from anxiety and depression.
Western conventional medicine uses drugs to treat migraines. These include antidepressants, anti-inflammatory meds, caffeine and barbiturates. One or a combo of these drugs is used to treat severe migraine pain. However, they are not designed to address the underlying reason of the problem and can even cause other unrelated conditions. Since these drugs are not natural they adversely affect the lymphatic system and the liver. Barbiturates can cause drowsiness and are habit-forming. SSRIs, on the other hand, can destroy libido.
From the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), migraines are the result of a malfunctioning liver. TCM practitioners believe that the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi or energy and is intimately connected with blood pressure, hormonal normalization and the nervous system. It is also an organ that is extremely sensitive to stress.
Studies have revealed acupuncture to be a very safe and extremely effective treatment for migraines. Acupuncture involves the use of very fine needles inserted into certain points in the body to boost liver function and resotre balance in the body.
Acupuncture helps to:
Normalize hormonal fluctuations
Boost blood flow
Relax the nervous system
Regulate brain chemistry by increasing serotonin
A number of sessions of acupuncture can significantly lower the frequency and severity of your migraine headaches.
Dr. Jeda Boughton is a licensed acupuncture physician and the medical director of BodaHealth in Vancouver, BC.