Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese practice that works by inserting needles into specific points in the body. And, although thousands of people have claimed it works, the efficiency of the practice is debated in the medical community.
Some studies don’t believe it’s effective, while others confirm that it can relieve pain. The WHO has recognized acupuncture as a pain treatment since 1979.
Acupuncture for headaches
Acupuncture can restore the energy flow in your body and eliminate the negative energy that may be causing you pain. From a medical perspective, it works in different systems in the body and triggers a healing response.
According to acupuncture, the body is divided into pressure points and zones. When needles are inserted in these points while lie near nerves, they are able to trigger endorphins which trigger response in the body. One of the health problems that the technique is really effective against are headaches and migraines.
Risk and shortcomings
When done by a professional, acupuncture is almost harmless. However, it has been known to cause fatigue, bruising and soreness, especially if performed by an unlicensed technician with improper and dirty equipment. The needles are regulated by the FDA as a single-use equipment.
Before deciding on acupuncture, make sure to examine your options and find a good practitioner. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, leave immediately. Make sure the practitioner uses new needles, and ask questions if you need to. He should feel comfortable to walk you through the process.
By itself, acupuncture may not be enough against chronic headaches, but they may offer relief.
General acupuncture guidelines
If it’s your first time, you may go with at least a few questions. The practitioners should tell you how many treatments you need, and when to expect relief from the symptoms. According to a recent study on cluster headaches, you’ll need at least two treatments a week for 2 weeks, then one treatment after 8 and weekly maintenance treatments afterwards.
Some people may not feel anything during the procedure, but others may feel slight pricks when the needles go in. Like we said, if you feel too much pain, you should talk to the practitioner. Also, be aware that most insurance companies don’t cover the expenses for acupuncture, so make sure to check out how much it costs.
Other alternative headache and migraines treatments
You’ll be lucky to know that there are other alternative treatments besides acupuncture against headaches. Essential oils are a good option – lavender oil has been known to relax your mind and relieve mild headaches.
Some studies suggest that aerobic exercises might help. These exercises can improve circulation, improve your lung capacity, relieve stress and dull the pain. Some doctors even recommend routine exercises as a way of counteracting symptoms.
When to go to a doctor
Let’s face the facts – acupuncture is not an alternative to medicine. You can use it to relieve mild headaches, but don’t expect it to relieve painful headaches and migraines fast. In general, if your headaches are accompanied by nausea, loss of vision or dizziness, you should visit your doctor. Headaches that occur after an injury or keep getting worse should be examined by a medical professional as well. Sometimes, these headaches can be a symptom of a severe underlying diseases, so make sure to get them checked out.