Migraine

Those who suffer from migraine headaches know how debilitating the pain can be. The excruciating pain on the right or left side of your head accompanied with nausea and visual disturbances make you unable to function for a few hours or the whole day (or, in some cases, even longer). For the lucky few, acupuncture can provide the cure, but for the majority of patients, acupuncture can reduce the frequency and/or intensity of migraine headaches either as a stand-alone modality or in conjunction with other therapies, most common of which is pharmacologic.

Acupuncture for Migraines During Pregnancy

Research has shown that during pregnancy, migraines tend to become less intense and/or less frequent—especially, in those women whose migraines are linked with their menstrual cycle (Jarvis, Dassan, & Piercy, 2018)—and that migraines themselves have no effect on fetus’s development (Aubé, 1999). But pregnant women and their healthcare providers have (at least) one concern in common: If a woman takes medications to manage her migraine, can those medications injure the fetus? While experts claim that “Many therapies for treating and preventing migraines can be safely used in pregnant women” (Jarvis, Dassan, & Piercy, 2018), they do not say that all therapies can be safely used, and the greatest concern comes with the most common type of therapy: pharmacologic.

While most pharmacologic therapies appear to be safe during pregnancy, researchers point out that there is a certain degree of confusion among medical providers regarding which medications are safe and in what circumstances, and just to play it safer pregnant women and their healthcare providers sometimes agree not to take the migraine-controlling medications during the course of pregnancy (MacGregor, 2016). This means that on top of all the inconveniences that come with pregnancy, the women will also have to suffer with their full-intensity migraine headaches. This is when acupuncture can be most useful, because acupuncture for migraines during pregnancy can provide a significant degree of pain relief, without exposing the pregnant woman or the fetus to chemicals of questionable toxicity. So you should definitely consider acupuncture for migraines while pregnant.

Is Acupuncture Effective for Migraines? How Acupuncture Helps Migraines?

Theoretically, acupuncture should be able to cure or substantially reduce migraine headaches. Acupuncture for migraine points can be found on various areas of the body, because their location depends not so much on the migraine itself, which is viewed as a consequence of an imbalance among organs, but on the organs that are involved in the imbalance—that is how acupuncture helps migraines by treating the cause of the problem, rather than the problem itself. Research confirms acupuncture’s efficacy in treatment of migraines (Zhao et al., 2017), but the truth is how effective acupuncture is for migraines has much to do with the skills of an individual acupuncturist.

How Often Do You Need Acupuncture for Migraines? 

In theory, once the balance among organs is restored, the migraines will be gone until a new imbalance doesn’t bring them back. In reality, however, treatments are usually needed throughout the term of pregnancy, but the sessions’ frequency may be regulated depending on an individual patient’s response to the acupuncture treatment.

Where Are Acupuncture Needles Placed for Migraines?

While a few needles can be placed in the head, face, back, or abdomen, the most important points in acupuncture for migraine headaches are located between knees and feet and between elbows and hands.

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