Headaches and Migraines
Approximately 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches, and of them, 28 million suffer from migraines. In my clinic one third to one half of my patients are seeking relief from these ailments.
A number of published studies have shown acupuncture to be as or more effective than traditional medicine in treatment of headache or migraine pain. Here are a few quotes: "Acupuncture leads to persisting, clinically relevant benefits for primary care patients with chronic headache, particularly migraine.1" "Supplementing medical management with acupuncture...resulted in improvements in quality of life and the perception by patients that they suffered less from headaches.2" "Acupuncture proved to be adequate for migraine prophylaxis. Relative to flunarizine, acupuncture treatment exhibited greater effectiveness in the first months of therapy and superior tolerability.3"
Although studies like this point out the effectiveness of acupuncture for migraines they do not delve into the use of Chinese herbal formulas. Combining acupuncture with herbs and massage has created a success rate of over 80% in my clinic. And by success I mean a reduction of 75% in frequency of headaches, the equivalent of going from one headache per week to one per month. Often my patients report even better results than that.
Advantages of acupuncture over traditional medical treatment are:
- Immediate pain relief. Patients commonly have a 50% reduction in pain within minutes of starting an acupuncture treatment.
- Minimal or no side effects. Acupuncture, massage and herbs are very safe.
- Much lower cost.
The initial acupuncture visit is $90, follow-up visits are $65. Usually a course of 3-5 visits will significantly reduce headache frequency. A one month supply of herbs costs $25-$40. Contrast that with migraine medications that run as high as $199 for 9 pills in addition to the cost of doctor's visits.
I enjoy treating headaches and migraines because patients get such great results. I invite you to give it a try!
1. Acupuncture for chronic headache in primary care: large, pragmatic, randomised trial. British Medical Journal 2004;328:744
2. A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Acupuncture for Chronic Daily Headache. Headache 2005;45:1113-1123
3. Acupuncture in the prophylactic treatment of migraine without aura: a comparison with flunarizine. Headache 2002 Oct;42(9):855-61