Migraines and acupuncture

Discussion in 'Your Living Room' started by jaypr, Feb 16, 2012.

ATTN: Our forums have moved here! You can still read these forums but if you'd like to participate, mosey on over to the new location.

  1. jaypr

    jaypr New Member

    Has anybody used acupuncture as a migraine preventative

    I came across this article where the author found relief

    Can acupuncture cure my migraine?

    Migraines often have identifiable triggers
    Migraine affects up to 15% of the UK population - around two thirds of sufferers are women.
    To mark Migraine Awareness week, Jane Elliott, a health reporter at BBC News, talks about a lifetime with the condition and how acupuncture is offering a respite.

    Even as a tiny baby, I am told, I used to hold my head, go pale, and vomit.

    As I grew older the migraines started to follow a more defined pattern.

    It seemed that anything that I liked and enjoyed could prove a trigger: chocolate, too much orange juice, Coca cola, excitement over parties or school trips.

    In the end my parents would not tell me about a planned treat until minutes before we left in the hope I would keep calm and avoid 'getting worked up'.

    I can remember a sudden attack on the way home from school, aged about 10, left me in agony, being sick on the roadside and wondering how I was going to manage the short distance home.


    And as I got older, I quickly learnt that even a small glass of red wine always has disastrous results, although I can drink small amounts of white wine with no ill effect.

    Exhaustion is another big trigger, and as a mother of two young children I have found the frequency of my attacks increasing over the last four years.

    First comes hours of excruciating pain and feelings of depressing nausea, then a welcome relief as I eventually vomit and as the pain recedes and I can fall into sleep

    Jane Elliott

    I know I can probably survive with one broken night's sleep, but any more than that will always mean a migraine.

    In any given month I can have between one and six attacks, although during both pregnancies I was migraine free.

    Some weeks are so bad that I get one horrendous attack and what I can only describe as aftershocks over the next few days.

    Darkened room

    In the worst attacks I am so debilitated that the pain, concentrated mainly on my left temple, seems unbearable and I have to retire to a darkened room.

    First comes hours of excruciating pain and feelings of depressing nausea, then a welcome relief as I eventually vomit and as the pain recedes and I can fall into sleep.

    My migraines last on average eight hours - some people suffer days of pain.

    Jane intends to keep using acupuncture
    Over the years I have tried every sort of pain relief, from over-the-counter headache tablets - which only work sometimes in the very early stages - to targeted migraine drugs, which worked on many of the attacks but left me feeling nauseous.

    This year, after my migraines reached an intolerable level and I found myself getting as many as three attacks a week, I decided to take immediate action.

    My doctor recommended Imigran Recovery (sumatriptan), which has recently been made an over-the counter drug. He warned me that it didn't work for everyone - but it worked for me.

    If I took the tablets everywhere with me and took them as soon as I started to feel the familiar warning signs they did not develop.

    Not wanting to become reliant on too many drugs however, I decided to explore other ways of alleviating my migraine.

    My mother recommended acupuncture, and I must admit that I was at first sceptical.

    She had seen a TV programme which seemed to show a link between acupuncture and migraine relief, and she offered to pay for a course of treatments for me to see if it worked.

    I didn't hold out much hope of it working, but was prepared to give it a go.

    Diet changes

    As well as the acupuncture, I was told to make some changes to my diet - only two cups of tea a day and no diet Coke (I normally have at least six teas daily and about one or two diet cokes a week).

    Christina, my acupuncturist, warned that I was using the caffeine to boost my energy levels and advised more water instead. Cutting out the caffeine from my diet was extremely hard and I had more than a few withdrawal symptoms, although in the long-term a relatively caffeine free diet is no bad thing for my overall health.

    A scan of the brain during a migraine
    Sessions took an hour and consisted of gentle head massage as well as the strategically placed acupuncture needles.

    The first week I had two attacks, the next week I had one and I was beginning to worry that I might be one of those for whom acupuncture did not work.

    But at the start of week three I had a revelation - no migraines.

    I went for treatment once a week for about two months and was completely migraine free. Apart from pregnancy this was a first.

    Over three months later I have had one bad migraine (last week) which I put down to an enforced break of six weeks, while the acupuncturist and I both had three week holidays.

    But I am amazed it has worked. I have read reports which say acupuncture and sham acupuncture both work, although other reports have disputed that.

    To be honest I don't care whether it is real, or as some say an effect 'in my mind'.

    I can't explain why it worked for me. All I can say is that it has worked for me and I intend to keep going.

    E-mail this to a friend Printable version

    Acupuncture 'like migraine pill'
    02 Mar 06 | Health
    Fake acupuncture 'aids migraines'
    03 May 05 | Health
    Migraine wrecks sex for millions
    27 Jul 99 | Health
    Alternative approach to tackling migraine misery
    31 Aug 98 | Health
    Acupuncture 'more than a placebo'
    30 Apr 05 | Health

    Medical Notes - Migraine

    Migraine Action Association
    Migraine Trust
    British Acupuncture Council
    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

    Hospitals 'eyeing private market'

    Stem cell method put to the test

    Stem cell 'hope' for arthritis

    | News feeds

    MOST POPULAR STORIES NOWMOST SHAREDMOST READSlow walking 'predicts dementia' How Germany lost the WWI arms race Social apps 'harvest user data' A history of British homes - Sarah Beeny Nazi sci-fi causes buzz in Berlin Most popular now, in detail
    MOST SHAREDMOST READArgentine ire at Falklands visit
    Student loan penalty 'abandoned'
    Slow walking 'predicts dementia'
    Farmer died trying to calm bull
    'Unique' medieval coin discovered
    Naked rambler caused 'distress'
    Woman charged with girl's murder
    How Germany lost the WWI arms race
    Nazi sci-fi causes buzz in Berlin
    UK 'stronger and richer together'
    Most popular now, in detail

    Sobering up

    Guns N' Roses' bassist McKagan's 'wake-up call' Running low

    Why eggs are in short supply in the Falklands Worship of wealth

    Jeremy Paxman's portrait of the new China

    Most Popular Now
  2. Funshine

    Funshine New Member

    Thank you for posting this. My son has a history of migraine suffering very similar to those described by the author. It is devastating to me too, as a mother, to feel so helpless. It is a situation unlike any other!
    My son has not tried accupuncture as fortunately, at this point in his life, he appears to have gained control of his triggers. He has totally modified his life around avoiding migraine attacks; however, every once in a great while migraines return...so again, this is great information...much appreciated!
  3. Lorrie K

    Lorrie K New Member

    I tried acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine for a year in an effort to help with my migraines. It was a total waste of time and money - no relief whatsoever!
  4. marbar

    marbar New Member

    Jaypr, my primary care physician referred me to a Chinese medicine doctor who practices acupuncture. The referral was for migraine. I have not scheduled an appointment, yet. I'll let you know how it goes after I see him.
  5. Intrepid

    Intrepid New Member

    I haven't tried acupuncture specifically for migraines but I did see a practitioner when my symptoms began and went for dizziness, tinnitus and and nausea that accompanies vestibular/neurological disorders. It did nothing to relieve my symptoms and the acupuncturist herself told me I was wasting my money by going to her because there was nothing she could do.

    Others swear by acupuncture so y'know...try it and see if it helps in any way.
  6. Trinity

    Trinity Bilateral Menieres 20 years, 24-7 symptoms,

    I am presently going for acupuncture. I have been three times. This is different from the other acupuncture doctor I saw who used only a few needles and prescribed herbs. That did not help me, but my tinnitus is so severe that I decidded to go to this clinic a few blocks from where I live. I is different because they call themselves community acupuncture that they offer at a lower price because everyone is in one big room on recliner chairs. it is quite comfortable and the doctor is from Israel and does his treatments completely different from the other doctor I saw. So far I have experienced no relief. I will try it one of two more time and then I will stop going. I figure that is a reasonable time to see if it will work Carole
  7. acujen

    acujen New Member

    If you didn't find relief, you didn't find the right acupuncturist. There is a HUGE difference between people allowed to practice acupuncture (varies by state) and a Chinese Medical Practitioner. You can find the "real deal" at www.nccaom.org.
  8. June-

    June- New Member

    This is what my family doctor indicated to me.
  9. studio_34

    studio_34 Guest

    I totally agree with Lorrie -- a waste of time and money -- and it fails in the evidence department as well.
  10. bulldogs

    bulldogs New Member

    I would not let no Chinese person stick me with needles from head to toe! Love their food though.

    Give it a try, but chances are you are just pissing in the wind!

    Good luck
  11. Taximom5

    Taximom5 New Member

    I have no idea if it would help with MM symptoms, but I was part of a study back in high school, when I had some back pain problems. It was amazingly effective (and I did not expect it to be).

    I went again (different city, different practitioner) when I had a severe shoulder injury; I had actually ended up with both shoulders having tears (one from being hit by a car, the other from overuse when I couldn't move the other arm). I was hoping that the acupuncture would help my non-surgified shoulder. It didn't. It helped the shoulder that was already recovering nicely from surgery. Go figure.

    I say, give it a try--BUT (a big BUT), be aware that there are risks. Acupuncture is not a placebo. There can be very real physical effects, and in the hands of someone who is less than expert, they can really screw things up. There is a violinist (or was it a violist?) who lost a career due to permanent nerve damage from acupuncture. You would want to research the practitioner's education and track record.
  12. studio_34

    studio_34 Guest

    The evidence shows that it is. A recent well-designed study showed that it didn't matter whether someone had "real" acupuncture, sham acupuncture (needles placed randomly), or simply had toothpicks twirled on their skin in random spots. All three created the same perceived effect in reducing back pain.

    Even that kills me! :)
  13. Nathan

    Nathan New Member

    How about Fedor, Milkhailovich Dostoevsky, the Russian. Would you allow Mr Fedor to stick you with needles from head to toe?

    What about Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Jackson, Tarpon, the American?
  14. acujen

    acujen New Member

    Larrikin, there are so very many factors wrong with the study you quote (and I am familiar with it). Clearly it is not worth the time nor effort to educate you, as it appears you've made up your mind without knowing all the facts.

    “One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid.”
    -James D. Watson
  15. Intrepid

    Intrepid New Member


    Reminds me of a quote by George Orwell:

    We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.

    —George Orwell (1946)
  16. Imnoscientist

    Imnoscientist New Member

    In answer to Jaypr's original question - yes I have tried acupuncture for migraine (from an acupuncturist who came highly recommended from a number of people, including an actual Chinese person!) and it did nothing at all for me.

    Acujen, I am interested in your thoughts on the study. I am aware of it as well, from this blog: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/acupuncture-does-not-work-for-back-pain/

    As your name is Acujen would it be fair to say that you have already made up your mind in favour of acupuncture?
  17. June-

    June- New Member

    Being for or against acupuncture is like being for or against medicine. Not all pills work for all things but that doesn't mean pills never work, does it?
  18. June-

    June- New Member

    ain't it the truth
  19. Imnoscientist

    Imnoscientist New Member

    Not really. It's like being for or against magic carpets vs for or against 747s. I'm scared of flying and sometimes planes crash, but I'll take the 747 (and a Valium) over the magic carpet any day! :D
  20. studio_34

    studio_34 Guest

    I'm all ears Dr Watson and as open as The Grand Canyon. Tell me about the factors that were wrong with the study and why you think acupuncture works? It's never done anything for me that's for sure.

Share This Page