Migraine Prevention with Acupuncture: What to Expect

acupuncture for migraines kitchener

Migraines are a kind of headache that often comes with sensitivity to lights, and sounds, and are typically associated with more aggressive pain symptoms. When you have a migraine, it can feel like nothing can be done. But did you know that physiotherapy and acupuncture can help relieve and even prevent migraines?

What Is a Migraine?

Migraines are throbbing or pulsating type headaches that usually occur on one side of our head. It often is associated with symptoms of an intolerance to light and sounds, sensitive/painful skin when touched, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Migraines usually last 4-72 hours.

Multiple factors can increase your risk of developing a migraine or act as triggers that initiate the headache process. These factors are unique to each individual and can include:

  • Changes in weather
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of sleep
  • Overexertion
  • Hormonal changes
  • Head trauma
  • Bright or flashing lights

This list of factors/triggers is not exhaustive, and it’s important to note that any combination of factors may contribute to an individual’s experience of migraines.

Does Acupuncture Really Work for Migraines?

Acupuncture is a useful and researched tool for managing migraines. A 2016 Cochrane review found that acupuncture is an effective alternative treatment for migraines and can reduce the duration and frequency of episodes. Acupuncture has been shown to be at least no less effective than conventional forms of treatment, i.e. pharmacological treatment.

What Is the Best Acupuncture Point for a Migraine?

There are no “best” points for a migraine, however, there are a few commonly used ones: GB20 and GB8, GB21, LI4, and Ying Tang.

What Are the Side Effects and Risks of Acupuncture for Migraines?

Each point has its associated risks. If the acupuncture needle touches a blood vessel, then we can get some bleeding and bruising. If this is the case, your clinician will apply direct pressure to the area until the bleeding stops. If the acupuncture needle touches a nerve. Then you may get feelings of numbness, tingling, pins, or needles. 

If this is the case, the needle will be moved. This feeling should go away. Lastly, GB21 is an acupuncture point in the traps where many people hold tension. This point has an additional risk of pneumothorax (punctured lung) if the appropriate needle size and technique are not used. This is why we take extra precautions with this point.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

While acupuncture is safe for most people, there are a few groups of people who are not appropriate for acupuncture. Individuals who have a bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia, that affects the blood’s ability to clot blood are not a candidate for acupuncture. 

Individuals who are currently pregnant are also not appropriate for acupuncture as there are potential correlations with some acupuncture points having a “down bearing” effect. Individuals who have an issue with or fear of needles may not be a good candidate for acupuncture. Lastly, individuals should make sure that they have eaten something that day to prevent getting lightheaded during Acupuncture in Kitchener.

Final Words

We have treated countless clients with stubborn head and neck pain, including migraines. Book an appointment today to start feeling the relief. 

We can help you with a wide range of common conditions including limb pain, sports injuries and tennis elbow to name a few.

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