A migraine is usually defined as a recurrent throbbing headache that often affects only one side of the head and possibly accompanied by nausea and blurry vision. According to HeadacheAustralia.org, 23% of households contain at least one migraine sufferer.
A migraine is an interaction between the brain and the blood vessels that feed the brain that went a bit haywire. Some parts of the brain, overstimulated, started to secrete chemicals that affect the blood vessels near it. The tightening of blood vessels causes the trigeminal nerve pain circuits to trigger, which manifests as a migraine.
Western medical treatment of a migraine comes in three types: document and avoid triggers, drugs for acute attacks, and preventive drug and therapy. However, drugs can be effective for only a certain percentage of patients.
Acupuncture has proven to help effectively for both prevention and treatment of acute attacks, even as Western medicine have other ways to understand the “mechanism” of how such treatment work on the human body for pain relief. With further study, it turns out acupuncture has two major mechanisms for migraine relief: relaxing the arteries in the area and inducing the body to release endorphins with analgesic effects.
By using ultrasound Doppler imaging techniques, scientists can observe the blood flow under the skin. In a study in 2012 using ultrasound Doppler imaging, doctors in Japan were able to prove conclusively that acupuncture can relax arteries, and they tested this on various parts of the body. By relaxing the blood vessels near the head, much of the acute migraine attack can be relieved.
If you are one of the three million Australians suffering from a migraine and living near Sydney, book an appointment at SITCM today and see how acupuncture and TCM can help you.