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HEADACHES - How Acupuncture Can Provide Pain Relief

If you suffer from headaches, you are not alone. Over 50 million of us experience some form of a severe headache at some point in our lives. Whether you experience minor head pain or severe migraines, headaches can take valuable time out of your day and your life, and leave you searching for relief.

One common way people seek relief is by reaching for drugs and other medications. This may work temporarily and may or may not help you get out of pain. Unfortunately, common headache medications do not address the root cause(s), and when used over long periods of time can cause unwanted side effects.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offer a safe and effective approach to relieving headache pain, without causing harmful side effects. These healing methods provide a comprehensive diagnostic protocol that can help your acupuncturist understand and address the root cause(s) of your headaches.

Quick facts:

There are various kinds of headaches:

Tension, migraine, cluster, sinus, hormone, rebound and organic.

Migraines are one of the most common types of headaches.

A migraine often begins as a dull ache and then develops into a constant,

throbbing pain that one may feel at the temples, as well as the front or back

of one side of the head.


The pain is usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and noise.


Causes of HeadachesThere are many factors in TCM theory that may play a key role in the root cause(s) of a headache.

These include body constitution, emotional health, excessive work, social activities and exercise, improper diet, physical trauma and hormones. Headaches can also be diagnosed according to specific symptoms, times of occurrence, location, type of pain, and triggers.

A Natural Path to Relief: Acupuncture and TCM take a holistic, or whole-body approach to health. Your practitioner will take a detailed health history, and perform a physical exam to determine how and why your body's vital energy, or Qi (pronounced chee), is out of balance and identify what type of headache you are experiencing. To determine the most effective care, he/she will focus on the root cause(s) of the problem, while simultaneously treating your current symptoms.

During treatment, in order to restore the body's balance and energy flow, fine sterile needles will be inserted at specific points of the body. Based on your unique symptoms, your acupuncturist will choose to concentrate on acupuncture points related to specific organs. Afterward, a variety of self-care techniques may be prescribed to further expedite your healing process.


It is important to remember that acupuncture is not a quick fix. Changes may occur quickly or over a longer period of time, depending upon your overall constitution and health. Whether it is one visit to address an acute problem, or several visits to address a chronic problem, it is suggested to closely follow care recommendations of your acupuncturist to maximize your healing potential.


Below are a few ways that you can participate in your own healing, by making simple lifestyle changes that may help alleviate, or even prevent, headaches:

Track those triggersTry to Keep track of when your headaches start. Migraine sufferers may find it especially helpful to keep a journal of symptoms. Certain types of foods and hormonal changes can be possible causes.


Stress reliefStress can contribute to many types of health concerns, including headaches. Talk to your practitioner about healthy ways to handle stress.

Exercise: Physical activity is an important part of any healthy lifestyle, and it is a great antidote to stress.

Healthy habits Do your best to eat healthy, organic foods, stay hydrated and get enough sleep every day.


Acupuncture care is extremely effective in reducing the frequency and severity of many types of painful conditions, including headaches and migraines, naturally. By working with your acupuncturist and adopting some simple lifestyle changes, you will be on your way toward a healthier, happier, pain-free life.


Middle age women. She is holding the sides of her head with both hands, her eyes are closed and brow is scrunched in a portrayal of enduring a headache. Illustration of the forehead is a red heat color.
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