The Anti-Migraine Experience
Dr. Matthew Fellner, DACM, LAc ESATM’s Acupuncture Department Chair
Not too long ago, the Daily News ran a story about how the makers of Excedrin created a device that recreates a virtual migraine headache for anyone who wears it. They called it the “Migraine Experience”. Excedrin even began running a commercial spot on prime-time TV.
You can read the story and see some video. (http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/excedrin-migraine-experience-lets-people-headaches-article-1.2591628 )
It’s an interesting and insightful experience, especially for people who have never suffered from a migraine. Take note of the guy who said he would never question his wife again when she complains with a migraine.
This got me thinking. Is there an “Anti-Migraine Experience?” What if there was some way for people who suffer from migraines to have the experience of being pain free, not having distorted vision, vertigo, nausea, and sound and light sensitivity? What if there was some magical device that could eliminate the need for daily Excedrin, or more powerful medications like Imitrex, Relpax, or even steroids? What if there was such a device? How fast would you flock to it if you suffered from migraines? Well, I’m here to tell you that there is such a device…It’s an acupuncture needle.
That’s right. A few simple acupuncture needles can make a world of difference in the lives of people suffering from migraines. And not just migraines, but any type of headache, including tension/stress headaches, sinus headaches, and even TMJ pain.
Headaches are a frequent symptom for millions of people and actually represent the most common form of neurological disorder. Headaches are not just a big pain in the neck…or head…if you will, but can adversely affect many daily functions, including sleep, exercise, and even the ability to work. And often, headaches can be severe enough to cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and balance issues.
Acupuncture, or “The Anti-Migraine Experience” as it should be called from now on, has been proven to address the very causes that produce migraines and other types of headaches. Acupuncture helps to promote vasodilation, increase circulation, open the sinuses, relax the neck muscles, and stimulate the release of chemicals that directly reduce pain and inflammation, including serotonin, endomorphin, and adenosine. According to a Cochrane Database analysis, (Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009, Jan 21) researchers found “statistically significant and clinically relevant short-term benefits of acupuncture” for reducing the number of headache days and pain intensity. A second Cochrane analysis concluded that acupuncture “is at least as effective as, or possibly more effective than, prophylactic drug treatment, and has fewer adverse effects.” (Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016, April 19)
The results can be quite dramatic and I encourage anyone who suffers from frequent headaches to try “The Anti-Migraine Experience” and feel the difference first hand.
Here are a few more headache facts that you may not have realized:
– According to ABC News, Americans spend over $3 billion per year on headache medicine
– Anywhere from 30-40 million people suffer from migraines, with women suffering twice as often as men
– Upwards of 200 million people suffer episodic tension headaches (less than 15 per month)
– Upwards of 15 million people suffer chronic tension headaches (more than 15 per month!)
– Overuse of pain and headache medication can actually cause more headaches. As much as 15 million people experience this according to the WHO
– According to www.migraine.com, migraine headaches account for nearly 75 million missed days of work and upwards of $17 billion in lost productivity!