While common, headaches are not normal. If you have headaches, you should have a health professional diagnose the root cause of the headache. As a chiropractor trained in acupuncture, I can help you identify the cause of the headache. Additionally, acupuncture can help headaches of many different causes.
There are many reasons why a headache may occur. Headaches can be physical, resulting from altered mechanics of the neck or along the skull. The muscles and joints of the head and neck may refer pain further up the head. Headaches can be chemical, resulting from certain foods or even a lack of specific nutrients. Headaches can have emotional origins, related to stress. Some headaches are resulting from a combination of triggers. No matter which the cause, acupuncture can help headache, by decreasing the frequency and intensity of pain.
Acupuncture for headache involves specific points.
Which acupuncture points I treat will depend on the type and location of your headache. Headaches can occur at the top of the head, the whole head, or on one side of the face. Many people definitely feel the pain starting at the top of the neck and wrapping over the head. Other headaches are secondary to sinus problems. A detailed discussion and examination to diagnose you headache will then guide us to the most effective acupuncture treatment plan.
Interestingly, some headache acupuncture points are nowhere near the head and neck. For example, one acupuncture point for headache is on the hand. At the crease between the thumb and the back of the hand is powerful point for head pain relief. In fact, you can treat this yourself by applying light pressure. Simply stimulation at this point can help with pain relief. When using acupuncture for headache, I almost always apply needle acupuncture on both sides. Nerves and acupuncture meridians supply both sides of the body for pain relief.
Headache sufferers often have more pain and tension elsewhere.
Regarding neck and head tension, I often advise those with headache about posture and ergonomics. Chiropractic manual care in addition to acupuncture can balance muscle tension and improve posture. Combining acupuncture treatment for stress and pain reduction has global, whole body effects. Acupuncture can even reduce blood pressure and pulse rate over a 30 minute session.
Overall acupuncture is typically very relaxing for people. The needles that I use are very comfortable. Some people feel a little pinch, yet that quickly goes away. I leave needles in for about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the treatment goals. Sometimes perform a treatment on the front side of the body, then remove the needles, turn over, and additionally treat the back side of the body. Yet, the amount of needles I use are probably not as many as you may see in the movies. I use somewhere between 12 and 18 needles per session. I do not want to overwhelm the body and instead want to treat the points which will be most effective for you.
In this video, Dr. Holly Tucker demonstrates some of the acupuncture points that you can self-treat with chronic headaches. Some of the acupuncture points discussed in the video are general points that can be helpful.