In this post, we will look at the viability of acupuncture and pressure points for migraines.
Migraines are the 3rd most common disease worldwide, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. The inescapable headache, often characterized by agonizing pain, plagues 14,7% of the world population.
Where some may experience the condition frequently, others may only suffer from one once a month or even once a year. The intensity and consistency of the migraine attacks are completely dependent on the person experiencing it.
Additionally, how people handle the condition and the treatment or medication they take will be different from person to person. Some techniques may work on one person and not on the next.
Identifying A Migraine
A migraine is a medical condition that involves severe, recurring headaches. They can be debilitating and sometimes leave people incapable of functioning properly.
They can last from a few hours to several days and present more intensely than normal headaches. Recent studies have found that women are more susceptible to them than men.
Symptoms of a migraine may include but are not limited to:
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to sound
Nonetheless, there isn’t simply one type of migraine. Different types include a basilar migraine, which starts in the brainstem. Additionally, there is the migraine aura without pain, which presents all the symptoms of a migraine minus the actual pain of the headache. The list can go on and on. To find out more about the different types, click here.
The causes of these excruciating headaches are still quite a mystery. More often than not, family history plays a big part in your susceptibility to migraines. A strong genetic history allows these painful attacks to pass down through generations. However, triggers can range from hormonal changes to environmental factors and many more.
Furthermore, a person’s risk of experiencing a migraine becomes exponentially more if they are also experiencing any of depression, anxiety, stress, or mood disorders. Despite the overwhelming data in linking migraines and the above-mentioned disorders/mental illnesses, the science as to why they are linked is still uncertain.
Additionally, when looking at treatments to ease the condition, it is similar to most of the science surrounding migraines. That is to say, it is dependent on each individual person. Everyone experiences their attacks differently, thus, the treatments are different for each person.
We discuss the different treatments for a migraine below, as well as using acupressure points to relieve headaches.
A migraine has a very fragile balance between pain and relief. Thus, anything can set it off, such as the wrong pain medication. Additionally, surprising home remedies could be the secret to alleviating the pain experienced during these episodes.
The first step to easing the pain is understanding what type of migraine you have. By understanding this, you will be able to better find a treatment specifically suited to your circumstances. This is because some are caused by different triggers and originate in different areas in your brain.
For more severe migraines sometimes linked with seizures, it would be best to approach your doctor about this. Your doctor may be able to prescribe you medicine that is able to maintain the severity of your pain and handle your seizures.
Another option is to try over the counter painkillers. This may be a challenge in finding the painkillers that work best for you, as they can affect people differently.
Furthermore, allergy relief medicine may be excellent as well, especially if allergies are one of your triggers.
If none of these remedies work, perhaps the best would be to look to home remedies, like massaging pressure points for a headache.
There are a plethora of effective home remedies that help ease the pain of an attack. It may be something as simple as lying in a dark room, to more complex home remedies such as acupuncture and acupressure. Acupressure involves massaging certain headache pressure points with your index finger in a circular motion. This can help to relieve headaches, and even a migraine, for many people.
You can read further about treatments for migraines on our website, however, now we will be focusing on the art of acupuncture and acupressure in relieving migraine symptoms.
What Is Acupuncture?
Originating in China around 6000 BC, acupuncture is a treatment that inserts thin needles in a person’s skin at specific points. By doing this, it is said to alleviate pain by stimulating the nerves in these areas.
Traditional Chinese acupuncture was said to balance the life force known as ‘qi’. This was done by balancing the ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’. When the ‘qi’ was unbalanced, it was believed that it caused illness and pain.
The acupuncture points were the energy pathways throughout the body, accessible through 350 different points. Thus, inserting these needles in the right places balanced the energy of the body.
Interestingly, when studied by neuroscientists, they found that the placement of these acupuncture points is very significant. Each acupuncture point was an area where muscles, connective tissues, or nerves could be stimulated. This meant that blood flow increased throughout the body – acting as a painkiller.
However, some neuroscientists believe that acupuncture simply works due to the placebo effect. This may be due to the fact that the true form of acupuncture is not the acupuncture practiced today in modern medicine. Over the years, acupuncture has evolved and changed as people learned more about the human body.
Acupressure And Pressure Points
Similar to acupuncture, acupressure was used and is still used in Traditional Chinese medicine. This form of treatment makes use of massaging or applying pressure to certain acupressure points around the body. This supposedly helps to release blocked energy or enhance energy flow to a specific area. Thus, relieving pain.
This is done by applying deep pressure or massage to certain points of the body. Usually, acupressure involves using the thumb and index finger, sometimes even knuckles or elbows, to massage a pressure point. Similar to acupuncture, these are the meridian points that encourage energy flow.
These are areas where a collection of nerves, muscles, and connective tissue can be found. They are sensitive areas that, when stimulated, help increase blood flow throughout the body. By doing this, your body releases more of its natural pain killers: endorphins.
Additionally, they create a chain reaction throughout the body which allows it to heal itself.
This form of treatment is based on bringing balance to “qi”, by empowering the body to restore itself to a natural state of well-being.
A well-known form of making use of pressure points is reflexology. It is based on the philosophy that certain areas of your body are connected. Thus, by deeply touching or massaging one area, you are able to stimulate healing in another area.
While some people don’t believe in this treatment, there’s no harm in trying to use acupressure to relieve tension headaches, headache pain, or even a migraine. There are no side effects to worry about if you decide to use acupressure.
Pressure Points For Migraines
It is important to note that although these are effective treatments for maintaining or reducing pain from tension headaches or a migraine, they are not a cure. If the pain worsens or influences your daily life, we recommend you see a doctor.
Finding the right pressure point for your migraine may not only be able to help with the pain but also help relieve the other symptoms. One such example is applying pressure to the wrist to help relieve nausea. You can use your thumb and index finger to apply pressure to this point.
Other pressure points for your headache pain include the area where your ‘third eye’ may be found. This lies between your eyebrows and one finger up. By stimulating this pressure point, you can drain the sinuses. thereby relieving any pressure that may have built up.
The second pressure point is the temples. They help promote blood circulation throughout the head and body. Other pressure points include the wind gate, the daith, as well as the apex. These are all pressure points found on your ears.
There are many more migraine pressure points, such as the area in between the base of your neck and the base of your head.
Once you have found the pressure points for your migraine, close your eyes, and firmly massage the area. Ensure that you don’t push too hard and hurt yourself, but rather apply a bit of pressure. This will allow the nerves in this area to be stimulated to help the body heal itself through acupressure.
Acupuncture For Migraines
Similar to acupressure, acupuncture makes use of stimulating the pressure points. It involves inserting needles into pressure points specifically for your migraine. It goes without saying that you should see a professional for this treatment.
The reason for this is that the needles lie close to nerves in your body. These are the pressure points for migraines that, when stimulated, help relieve the pain experienced. This will then release hormones, such as endorphins, that help combat the pain. Additionally, it encourages blood flow and circulation.
When looking to treat your migraine, it is absolutely essential that you first understand what type is affecting you. From then, treatments such as acupressure and acupuncture can be used to alleviate the connected pain and symptoms.
This can be done by identifying the pressure points for migraines and then either stimulating blood flow through acupressure or acupuncture. When partaking in this practice, rather seek the advice and treatment of a professional.