Acupuncture and Causes of Migraine Headaches Pain

Find out how acupuncture identifies the causes of pain from your migraine headaches so that you’ll know what to do to help yourself; it includes details on menstrual migraine headache.

The exact mechanism responsible for this disorder is not known but the head pain is related to dilation of intracranial blood vessels which may be the result of chemical changes that cause spasm of intracranial vessels.

Allergic reactions, excess carbohydrates, iodine-rich foods, alcohol, bright lights, or loud noises may trigger attacks, which can also occur during a period of relaxation after physical or psychic stress.

Some of my patients have also shown that dietary precipitants such as cheese, chocolate or red wine can exacerbate migraine attacks.

In general, the following are triggers to migraines:

  • Insomnia
  • Barometric pressure change (also present in arthritic sufferers)
  • Hunger
  • Diet or certain foods (although this can be overly stated)
  • Maybe provoked by alcohol, tension, stress
  • Aggravated by noise and bright light
  • More common pre-menstrually
  • Oestrogen (female, age, oral contraceptive)

Relief can be obtained by withdrawing to a quiet, dark room and sleeping.

Migraine Headaches in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Headache is a common condition, it is a subjective symptom and can occur with a variety of acute and chronic diseases. A headache may involve the entire head, or it can manifest pain in certain sections of the head, the anterior, posterior or lateral parts of the head. The exact location of the headache is the first and most important distinction for Chinese medical doctors.

Along with other important information that are needed, the second most important is the accurate description of the type of pain sensation experienced; for example, whether it feels like a sharp, throbbing, hot, stabbing type of pain.

This is the key that unlocks the beginning of effective treatment.

Another critical area of importance is the diagnostic skill or experience of the acupuncturist or Chinese herbal medicine practitioner. Below are brief examples.

Whilst the severe pain and other symptoms can point to a Yang excess manifestation, for example, with those seen during an attack of wind and cold (a cold or early viral infection) --- you may be surprised to know that, according to Chinese medical diagnosis, a deficient physical body or those with weak constitution can also be the cause of migraine headache. In particular, the deficient state may be due to Qi deficiency, Blood deficiency, Yin deficiency or even a deficiency of Yang.

Another example of this excess condition is the headche produced from excess alcohol, this in Chinese medicine is reminiscent of Liver Fire, where the heat from the Fire rises to the top (the head) causing headache plus other signs and symptoms.

Menstrual Migraine Headaches

Some women tend to get a migraine attack at certain times in their menstrual cycle, more commonly prior to menstruation thus hinting at hormonal influences.

For that reason, the contraceptive pill has been known to exacerbate migraine in many women; it can increase the risk of stroke in patients who suffer from migraine with aura. This risk is increased if you smoke.

Summary of Key Characteristics of Migraine Headaches

For a diagnosis of migraine to be made, only 3-4 of the following is needed:

  • Throbbing, unilateral pain
  • Last 4 hours to 72 hours
  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Worse with exertion, associated with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, sound or smell

Back to Acupuncture Migraine Headaches

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© Copyright Pier Tsui-Po 2005-2014. All Rights Reserved.
Dr Pier Tsui-Po Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine Clinic
Berwick Specialist Suites,
Suite 8 - Level 1, 50 Kangan Drive, Berwick 3806,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Telephone: 9796 2388

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