How does acupuncture work for tension type headaches and migraines?

I became an acupuncturist after my experience of having acupuncture treatment for migraines. I love to help other people with similar symptoms because I have first hand experience of how effective it can be.

It’s not just me that knows how great acupuncture can be for these conditions. There have been lots of studies over many years and acupuncture is even recommended to the NHS by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) for treatment of migraine and chronic tension type headaches. Unfortunately they do not necessarily have the capacity to offer acupuncture treatment so patients often have to seek treatment privately.

Acupuncture has been shown to help headaches by:

  • Stimulating the nervous system to cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules, including pain relieving endorphins. This influences the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.
  • Changing the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord, including reducing sensitivity of specific areas of the brain to pain and stress when certain acupuncture points are stimulated.
  • Reducing inflammation.
  • Increasing local microcirculation, to aid reduction in swelling.

Are you one of the 80% of adults who suffer with tension type headaches?

Do you find yourself taking regular painkillers to manage headache symptoms or other medication to try to prevent migraines?

Acupuncture is very safe, when carried out by a qualified practitioner, and any side effects are mild and short lived. It might be an excellent option if you are struggling with the side effects of medication, as acupuncture has been shown to be at least as effective as preventative medication. Acupuncture can also be used alongside your regular medication if you are finding your medication is not enough to control your symptoms.

Acupuncture has a cumulative effect so you will need a course of treatment to bring the frequency and severity of your headaches or migraines under control. We’ll start with weekly treatments then gradually space them out as symptoms improve. We’ll also look at lifestyle factors that might be impacting your symptoms and with help and support you may be able to manage the condition more effectively. Eventually you may want to come for maintenance treatments to keep you feeling well.

For more detailed information (including all references) please read the British Acupuncture Council factsheets and these other links:

BAcC Headache factsheet

BAcC Migraine factsheet

NHS acupuncture

Migraine Trust

Got more questions about how acupuncture could help you? Book in for a free 20 minute consultation now to discuss your particular health concerns. Sarah would love to chat to you.

Phone             07714 721969 (calls or texts welcome)