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  • Julie Johns, L.Ac.

Help with Headaches

Headache got you down?

Like the dog in this photo, sufferers of chronic migraine and tension headaches find themselves unable to engage in everyday activities, often having to withdraw to a quiet, dark space. Acupuncture is able to effectively treat primary headaches and in a 2008 study, researchers from Duke University reported that acupuncture works better than medications to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches. The researchers reviewed studies involving over 4,000 patients with migraines, tension, or other chronic headaches. Sixty-two (62) percent of acupuncture patients reported headache relief compared with 45 percent of patients taking medications. And, acupuncture has an added bonus, it is virtually harmless; there are no additional side effects, unlike synthetic medications.

So, what is involved in an acupuncture treatment for headaches?

When I treat a headache, I rarely use acupuncture points in areas near the head. We want to avoid further dilating blood vessels in the head and worsening the situation. Rather, small, fine needles are inserted primarily in the lower body to move the pain away from the head and to release some of the body's own natural pain relieving chemicals. The acupuncture needles are retained for about 25 minutes while the patient quietly rests.

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