Treating Migraines with TCM

Individual laying down with acupuncture needles on her face

Migraine Headaches have long plagued human kind. Headache remedies can be found in the most ancient of cultures. In today’s modern world, many of these traditional cures have been lost. Although we must be thankful to western allopathic medicine for its ability to see inside the body and to diagnose and treat many life-threatening conditions, we are often left with limited options for alleviating more chronic and less diagnosable (from a western perspective) conditions, such as chronic headaches. Western indications are usually prescribed, and headache pain is often reduced, although undesirable side effects sometimes make the drug unsuitable for long-term use. Chinese medicine, including acupuncture and Chinese herbs, can be very effective in the treatment of headaches. Common factors contributing to the onset of headaches are constitution, excess stress or emotions, spending more energy than you have (overwork or play), diet or injury. There is also always a chance that headache pain is being caused by something organic such as a tumor. As with all severe symptoms, a visit to your MD to rule out a life-threatening situation is always appropriate. In addition to acupuncture and Chinese herbs, an important factor in relieving headache pain is lifestyle changes. Your capacity to deal with stress is often a very important element. Another important lifestyle issue that often needs to be addressed is: Are you spending more energy than you actually have?

Here are some ways to tell:

  • Do you use caffeine to get you going in the morning?
  • Do you have a difficult time getting out of bed in the morning?
  • Do you have any energy crashes throughout the day that you overcome with caffeine?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is quite likely that you are running an energy deficit. Simply put, you are spending more energy each day than you actually have and using caffeine to liberate energy to use today that you should be saving for tomorrow. In essence, you are draining your energetic bank account. If this sounds like you, one way to get back into energetic balance is to allow yourself to sleep more. This may sound perfectly reasonable, but it is amazing how many people don’t get as much sleep as they need. With some lifestyle changes, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are often very effective in helping to alleviate the pain of headaches.

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