According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chronic headache disorders – such as migraines, tension headaches, and cluster headaches – are the most common nervous system disorders.

They estimate that approximately 47% of the world population has experienced at least one episode within the last year.  Of those numbers, almost 10% are classified as migraines.

Signs of a Migraine

  • Pounding, throbbing, or pulsating pain in the head
  • Starts on one side of the head and may stay there
  • Intense pain along the temples
  • Lasts anywhere from 4 hours to 3 days
  • Nausea and vomiting – resulting loss of appetite
  • Dizziness, vertigo, numbness in the body, weakness or tingling
  • Light sensitivity and visual disturbances such as blurred vision or lines in sight
  • Intense fatigue and irritability

As much as 4% of the global population has reported experiencing headaches for half of every month, resulting in 25 million lost work or school days annually in the United Kingdom alone.  Yet this is an area of chronic pain that has consistently been under-diagnosed, poorly treated, and brushed aside in the health world as minor.

What Causes a Migraine?

  • Tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol use – beer and red wine more than others
  • Skipping meals or eating pickled foods, processed meats, and foods containing MSG
  • Hormone fluctuations
  • Intense lights or loud noises
  • Stress, lack of sleep, or excessive heat
  • For those who suffer from headache disorders…there is nothing ‘minor’ about it.

The majority of those with this condition are misdiagnosed and the recommendation is typically over-the-counter (OTC) medications or a prescription for pain.

However, headache sufferers are at high risk for OTC overdose – taking more and more seemingly ‘harmless’ drugs to dull the pain.

Acupuncture as a Natural Pain Reliever

There is a better way.

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese treatment with the earliest known use as far back as 200 BC.  In the Western world, it was not discovered until the 1970s.

The practice involves inserting thin needles along ‘energy pathways’ or meridians that are close to the surface of your skin.  It is believed to correct imbalances in the natural energy of the body that become ‘blocked’ and lead to disease.

Sounds a little bit ‘woo woo’ but the truth is, though scientists may not understand how this ancient practice works…the fact that it does work is indisputable!

It was only in 1997 that it was formally recognized by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a safe and efficient natural pain relief option with rare possibility of side effect.  NIH recently released a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine spanning more than five years about the effectiveness of acupuncture as a migraine treatment. acupuncture-migraines ksm

The long-term study followed more than 18,000 patient participants and the results were clear: acupuncture performed above and beyond traditional medications to naturally manage migraine pain, chronic back and neck pain, and osteoarthritis!

Acupuncture is no longer “controversial.”  It is among the most widely practiced forms of alternative medicine in the world and is now offered by many hospitals globally!

Acupuncture is used as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative to treat an ever-growing list of disorders: addiction, stroke, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, infertility, pregnancy problems, dental pain, and side effects from cancer treatment.

One advantage of this type of treatment, admits the US National Institutes of Health, is that the rates of side effects are substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions.

The wise course of action is to include acupuncture – if you are inclined to use it – in conjunction with other pain modifying techniques.

For information about more options to manage chronic pain, check out my latest book The Ultimate Guide to Natural Pain Relief!