Let’s face it: the world doesn’t slow down when you feel tense, stressed or otherwise misaligned. Rather, our hyper-energized world creates all sorts of noise and distraction moving at ludicrous speeds. As a result, there’s no reprieve from the constant barrage of media messages. These include texts, emails, phone calls, advertisements, sales pitches and other digital distractions. Consequently, our sanity is assailed with their irascible demand for our attention.
When our body reaches a high level of disturbance, it responds by producing the dull, agonizing throb. We recognize this throb as a headache. The point of origination lies within our autonomic nervous system (ANS). Additionally, this is responsible for managing and regulating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
The sympathetic nervous system engages the “flight or fight” reaction. A reaction brought about by stressful, terse situations which require an immediate engagement of either response. Consequently, should you stay and do battle against your stressors. Or should you flee from them, running at full speed, lungs searing and breath tearing through your nose and throat? Both sound equally taxing and highly emotional. The trouble with our overstimulated world is the amount of stressors it is constantly producing. They range from financial, work-related, mental, home-related, emotional, physical. All the directions we are pulled to keep functioning at a high level require a vast amount of our energy. And forces our sympathetic nervous system to work overtime.
When the sympathetic nervous system is over-stimulated, it suppresses altogether the parasympathetic response. This is the response or the tendency to relax, sit quietly and be at peace. In Chinese medicine, this is known as Shen disturbance, or trauma that affects the mind and the heart to its detriment. The negative energies created by Shen disturbance remain locked in our cells if they are not released. Imagine all that tension, anxiety and aggravation festering inside our body. It has nowhere to go, it builds and builds, creating a dangerous pressure within us. Eventually, the excess runoff creates a natural disaster, or in lay terms, a headache.
Four Types of Headaches
There are four major types of headaches, and acupuncture can provide relief from them all:
Mild or moderate in severity; this is the most common form of headache. Most people afflicted by headaches are experiencing a tension headache.
An intense headache notorious for causing stabbing, pulsating pain. Migraines are usually one-sided and accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light or noise, and flashes of light or changes in vision, otherwise known as auras. Auras develop over the course of 5-20 minutes and may manifest as vertigo, imbalance, confusion and numbness.
Chronic headaches never seem to go away and may present every day. In reality, chronic headaches are exacerbated by overuse of pain medication, such as naproxen sodium or ibuprofen. Subsequently, the gradual immunity to said medications intensify the recurrence and severity of chronic headaches.
Headaches brought on by severe trauma, headaches in the elderly or sudden onset headaches may signal a serious medical condition and warrant immediate medical attention. Agonizing neck pain, vomiting, dizziness or high fever with a severe headache could be reflect a severe health problem.
How Acupuncture For Headaches Provides Relief
Treatment involves the insertion of needles along pre-identified areas of the body. It’s done to achieve eviction of stored negative energies that cause Shen disturbance. Thus, the needles are not necessarily inserted into the head. Additionally, overstimulation of the blood vessels can actually worsen migraine symptoms. Migraines are triggered by bloated blood vessels in the head.
Needle dilation can occur in the lower body. Points in the legs or feet can release pressure and subsequently trigger release in other areas of the body. The science of distal acupuncture advocates for needle insertion in the arms and legs. The goal is to treat pain in other areas of the body without over-stimulating the affected area itself.
As acupuncture for headaches is minimally invasive, safe and natural, it has virtually no negative side-effects. This is unlike over-the-counter and prescription drugs. The over-use of NSAIDs such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can lead to dependency, stomach bleeding or even liver disease.
Acupuncture may be administered along with suggestions for improvement in other areas of life. Those suggestions can include diet, exercise and the adoption of a healthy sleep routine (aiming for 7-8 hours).
This guide published by New York AcuHealth discusses the science of headaches in greater depth, as well as eastern medicine treatment options.
Ready for treatment?
Call 503-246-0103 to schedule an appointment.
Have a question?To submit an inquiry to one of our professionals, email us at email@example.com.
Have a question about acupuncture or some of our other services? Send us your question and we’ll get back to you shortly with a reply!