Headaches

Headaches

About half of the population will get a headache at some point this year. Sometimes, headaches are mild and go away on their own. Other times, they are more severe and keep coming back. The two most common types of headache are tension headaches and migraines.

Tension Headaches:
Around one out of every five people will have a tension headache in a given year. People usually describe their pain as “tight” or “aching”. It is often worse when they are feeling stressed out. Tension headaches are are believed to be caused by tight muscles in the head and neck. Not surprisingly, EMG studies have shown that stress can make these tight muscles worse.

When you come in for your appointment, we will check your neck, shoulders and upper back for tight muscles and Trigger Points. We will use acupuncture to “reset” your tight muscles and release any trigger points that we find. As healthy function of your neck and jaw returns, you can expect a great reduction in both the intensity and severity of your headaches.

Migraine:
Migraines cause severe, pulsing pain that usually happens on only one side of your head at a time. Pain is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines can last for days and be debilitating.

Migraines are believed to involve both changes in the blood flow around your brain. A growing body of research suggests that neurogenic inflammation – especially release of a chemical called CGRP from the trigeminal nerve – plays an important role.

Migraine headaches, like many other painful conditions, also involve changes in the way your body processes pain. In this case, a part of your brain called the caudal trigeminal neucleus, which handles pain signals from your head and neck, becomes extra sensitive. This means that signals that usually aren’t painful become painful. What’s more, the “wires can get crossed,” so to speak, which means that your brain gets confused about where the pain is really coming from.

The mechanism by which acupuncture affects migraines is not fully understood. However, acupuncture can affect sensory input to the caudal trigeminal nucleus. Acupuncture has also been shown to lower levels of an inflammatory chemical called CGRP. Our goal is to help reduce both the frequency and intensity of your headaches.