Dr. Matthew Fellner, DACM, L.Ac.
A little way back, 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” and even ran a commercial spot on prime time TV.
It’s an interesting and insightful experience, especially for people who have never suffered from a migraine. One gentleman 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 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 simply 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 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, 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.”
The results can be quite dramatic and I encourage anyone who suffers from frequent headaches to try acupuncture 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 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!