Acupuncture Charlotte, NC | Charlotte, Acupuncture Clinic

Abbie Mercurio MA, AP, LAc, Dipl Ac ~ Ray Mercurio LAc, Dipl Ac

Migraines and Tension Headaches



Headaches are simply defined as a pain in the head from any cause. There are many different kinds of headaches. This article will review migraine and tension headaches. Many people suffer from both types of headaches. First we will give a brief summary of these headaches according to Western Medicine and then review the Chinese Medicine point of view.MigrainesA migraine is a recurring vascular headache. It is characterize by unilateral onset, severe pain, aversion to light and autonomic disturbances during the acute phase. The acute phase may last for hours or days. Women are four times more likely to suffer migraines. Hormonal factors account for most of the gender difference. It is also thought that a predisposition to migraines may be inherited. The exact causes of migraines are not known. The basis for a migraine is complex and includes neurological, vascular, hormonal and neurotransmitter components. The head pain is related to the dilation of extracranial blood vessels. Migraines often occur during periods of relaxation after physical or emotional stress. They may be triggered by hunger, weather changes, stress, allergic reactions, excess carbohydrates, iodine-rich foods, alcohol, bright lights, loud noises, menstruation, ovulation and contraceptives. Frequently, there is a warning of an attack. Migraines can be preceded by visual disturbances, such as, flashing lights, aura, or wavy lines. There may also be a strange taste or odor, numbness, tingling, dizziness, or a ringing in the ear. During the acute phase there may be nausea, vomiting, chills, frequent urinating, facial edema, irritability and fatigue. After an attack there is usually a dull head and neck pain and a need for sleep. Aspirin rarely has any effect on a migraine. It is sometimes possible to prevent the migraine if medication is taken early in the onset. Ergotamine tartrate medicine by itself or in combination with caffeine, phenobarbital and belladonna may prevent the headache.Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are the most common form of headache. As many as 88% of women and 69% of men suffer with this type of headache. It feels like pressure or a tight band around the head. The onset of the pain is usually gradual.  The headaches can last for hours or several days. If this type of headache occurs for at least 15 days a month, it is considered a chronic tension headache. Even though the exact cause of this type of headache is unknown, it is thought that contraction of the neck, face and shoulder muscles as well as hypersensitivity of the pain fibers in the trigeminal nerve are the cause. This type of headache can be triggered by emotional strain or overwork. The tension headaches are treated with aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The chronic tension headaches are treated with a tricyclic antidepressant.

However, prolonged use of analgesics or others strong medications are not recommended since they can have serious side effects.

So what can be done to treat these headaches? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), studies suggest that acupuncture could play a significant role in treating migraines and tension headaches, as well as, many other types of headaches.

In Chinese Medicine, headaches are mainly the result of the stagnation, a deficiency or an excess of energy (qi) and/or blood. This is a very simple statement for a very complex issue. All of the yang energy channels meet in the head. All of the energy and blood of the yin channels flow towards the head.

Since so many of the acupuncture channels go to the head area, in order to correct the problem, the acupuncturist must isolate specifically which of the channels are involved. To assist in doing this we analyze exactly where the pain is located. In addition, careful consideration is given to the pulse picture. It must be determined if there is an excess or a deficiency, heat or cold and where it exist in the body. In order to successfully treat migraines and tension headaches, it is essential to treat not only the pain but to get to the root cause of the headaches. This will involve the need to build or move the energy and blood. Also, the treatment should correct any hormonal imbalance. Points should be selected to correct any involvement of the trigeminal nerve.

The building of the yin and the balancing of the proper flow of energy will help to not only alleviate but eliminate the headaches for the long term.

Are you suffering from migraines, tension or other type of headaches? Do you have any questions? To get answers to your questions or to book a consultation or treatments please call 704-370-2447.

Abbie Mercurio M.Ac., L.Ac. and Ray Mercurio L.Ac. are licensed Board Certified Acupuncturist (NCCAOM) in the state of North Carolina. Their clinic – The Natural Response Acupuncture and Wellness Center – is located at 1112 Harding Place, Charlotte, NC. Their scope of practice includes Classical Five Element, Classical and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Acupuncture, CranioSacral Therapy, Neuromuscular Therapy, Therapeutic Imaging and Dialogue, Manual Lymph Drainage and Pain Management.

 

 

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