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The Effectiveness of Acupuncture in Treating Migraines

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Anyone suffering from migraines knows how debilitating the pain can be. Since some can come and go without warning, constant episodes can disrupt your daily routine. Some migraines may even be severe, where the pain and symptoms can last for days.

If you’re looking for a non-invasive treatment for relieving your condition, regular acupuncture treatments can reduce the intensity of the episodes over time. If you’re unsure whether it’s the right treatment for you, perhaps a brief discussion on its benefits and effectiveness will help convince you to give it a try.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a type of traditional Chinese medicine that balances your body’s energy flow. It believes that your energy runs through different pathways or meridians throughout your body, and when one gets blocked, that’s when pain or diseases appear.

To repair this, thin needles are inserted at different points in your body to release the blockages and restore the healthy flow of your energy. 

From a scientific perspective, acupuncture stimulates your central nervous system and promotes healthy blood flow. This increases the production of endorphins to activate your body’s natural healing abilities. Although it’s often used for treating musculoskeletal pain, it can also be beneficial for managing several conditions, like headaches and migraines.

How effective is acupuncture for migraines?

From an outsider’s perspective, migraines may look like severe headaches. But what they don’t know is that it can also be accompanied by other symptoms, like brain fog, neck pain, jaw pain, back stiffness, and an inability to concentrate.

If you’re looking for a non-invasive treatment to reduce migraine pain and mitigate its symptoms, you should consider trying acupuncture.

Several studies show that acupuncture is effective as a prophylactic treatment for migraines. It’s also safer than taking drugs since it has fewer adverse effects. With consistent treatments, its effects can be long-lasting, which in turn can be cost-effective since you’ll no longer have to take medication to manage your pain and symptoms.

How does acupuncture work for migraines?

Acupuncture is effective for migraines since inserting needles relieves tension in the head. Although tension isn’t the direct cause of migraines, experiencing relief from underlying tension can be a welcomed change since it can also reduce associated symptoms, such as jaw, neck, and back pain.

Acupuncture also treats migraines by regulating your neurovascular function. This stimulates your nervous system and blood flow to the brain, mitigating overactivity and restoring healthy nervous function.

Considering migraines are caused by the depletion of serotonin in your body, frequent acupuncture treatments can increase the production of these chemicals. As a result, it reduces the pain and frequency of migraine episodes over time.

How long does acupuncture for migraines last?

The duration of the effects of acupuncture will depend on each person and the severity of your migraine. Some may feel relief for weeks or months, while others only experience it for a few days. If you have chronic migraines, you may need consistent treatments to feel its long-lasting benefits.

That’s why it’s important to talk to your acupuncturist about your treatment plan so you know what the sessions involve and how long the treatment may last. If you don’t feel any changes with your migraines after a few sessions, let your practitioner know so they can adjust your plan better.

What other conditions can acupuncture treat?

The great thing about acupuncture is that it can treat several chronic and acute illnesses. Although it’s known for treating pain, consistent treatments can heal injuries and manage pain from symptoms.

Some conditions that acupuncture can treat include:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Tennis elbow
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Muscle knots and sprains
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Sciatica

Aside from musculoskeletal ailments, acupuncture can reduce respiratory illnesses like allergic bronchitis, rhinitis, and asthma. Its relaxing effects can also help manage the symptoms of mental conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Who shouldn’t get acupuncture?

If you have other existing acute or chronic medical diseases besides migraine, make sure to talk to your doctor first to determine whether acupuncture can help your condition.

But if you have a metal allergy or blood disorder or are taking blood thinning medication, acupuncture may not be the best treatment for your body. Be wary if you have a pacemaker since treatments with electrostimulation can affect your device.

Although acupuncture is safe during pregnancy, make sure to notify your acupuncturist so they can avoid specific pressure points that can induce labor.

Ready to book an acupuncture treatment?

If you’re ready to try acupuncture for your migraine, book a session with Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture. They have a team of licensed acupuncturists ready to create a personalised treatment according to your health goals. They also offer cupping, dry needling, electrostimulation, and soft tissue mobilisation to help you regain balanced health. For questions or inquiries, feel free to contact their team now.




Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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