Study Shows Acupuncture For Migraines More Effective than Common Medication

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Study Shows Acupuncture For Migraines More Effective than Common Medication

Acupuncture for Migraines more effective than medications

Once again, a study is showing that acupuncture is more effective for treating migraines than one of the common migraine medications that is regularly prescribed.

100 people participated in the study, and participants either received 20 acupuncture treatments, or the drug Depakote at the standard dosage.   Both groups were given the option of 10 mg of Rizatriptan for acute migraine attacks. 

The study results showed that the patients who received acupuncture rather than Depakote needed less Rizatriptan, showing they were having less migraines than the Depakote group, and they reported significantly less migraine pain levels.  In addition, just under 50% of the drug group had adverse side effects, while there was 0% adverse side effects for the acupuncture group.

As an acupuncturist, I actually love using acupuncture for migraines. Possibly more than anything else that I treat, migraines can be one of the most disabling chronic symptoms unrelated to progressive disease, that is experienced by the general population. 

A migraine can stop someone dead in their tracks, and appear out of nowhere.  But one of the reasons I love treating migraines is because of the satisfaction that both the patient and I receive when the acupuncture treatments work for their condition…and the vast majority of the time, they do. 

Very rarely have I had someone follow through with the recommended course of treatment, and NOT experience huge improvements, if not complete remission of their migraines.  Usually, when someone doesn’t experience the results they are hoping for, it is because they do not complete their treatment course,  or perhaps choose to not take recommended herbs.

To see more about how I work with migraines, visit this page: headaches/migraines

The difference between using acupuncture for migraines vs. medication

With drug therapy, we are used to getting instant results.  They might be temporary, based only on whether we continue taking the drug. But still, it is very handy and a great relief to be able to take an aspirin for a headache and feel better very shortly. 

While I’ve been able to get most headaches to go away if someone happens to have an acupuncture appointment when the headache or migraine hits, the longterm treatment of headaches requires time.

Notice, the treatment participants received 20 treatments.  At the beginning stages of treatment, someone may still get migraines, and it is very important that they understand that it is only through clearing up underlying imbalances…imbalances that took YEARS to develop, that the migraines will finally cease.  

A patient may notice no change at all for the first few treatments.  This is not that the acupuncture doesn’t work or is weak…that IS how acupuncture works. This is where education is extremely important, so that patients don’t give up while their body is doing the internal healing work before it shows up as improved symptoms.

Most of the time, people will notice improvements showing up somewhere in their body early on, and many times they first show up as a decrease of other symptoms that I explain are all related to the same imbalance, such as digestive or sleep issues, menstrual problems, fatigue, etc.

Some types of migraines require herbal treatment in addition to acupuncture to get the results we’re looking for, and combining the two can bring faster and more satisfactory results.

Which was better longterm: drug or acupuncture?

Another difference reported in the study is that the longterm affects of the study were markedly better for the acupuncture group than for the drug group.  6 months later, the acupuncture group was faring better than the drug group, showing that while drugs provide only partial, temporary relief, acupuncture is a more lasting treatment approach.

Most migraines I treat end up being related to liver imbalance, most likely because the liver is one of the most common imbalances in our culture, due to the high-stress, workaholic nature of our society which strongly impairs the liver. 

The season we’re in right now, the Spring season, related to the Wood element, is associated with the liver.  This means that migraine symptoms related to the liver might start to flare, but also that treatments received during this time of year could have magnified results. 

While I effectively treat migraines at any time of year, the spring season is a good time to address them if you are having them now.

Chances are, you do not need to live with migraines, nor to be dependent for the rest of your life on migraine medications.  This may be hard to believe, but I see it every day in my clinic.  If you have questions about whether I think acupuncture can work for you, please do not hesitate to call!

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Tags: migraines