Migraines can be debilitating. Excrutiating pain, visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, light and sound sensitivity are only some of the symptoms that can be associated with migraines. There are many pharmaceutical options, but unfortunately they often have side effects, including headaches, and can be toxic to the liver long term.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are two effective ways to manage migraine pain when it comes on, as well as prevent the occurance in the first place. According to Chinese medical theory, "when there is pain, there is no free flow; when there is free flow, there is no pain." Acupuncture encourages the Qi, or energy, to flow properly through the body, so that the symptoms go away. The reason acupuncture can be so effective, is because there is no "one size fits all" approach to migraine management; each person is treated according to their specific constellation of symptoms. Just like each person's experience of a migraine can be different (although there are often many common factors), each person's treatment will be tailored to them. This is the reason that certain medications work for some people and not others, and that people experience different side effects from the different medications.
There can be many different causes of migraines, such as hormonal fluxuations, dietary intolerances, muscular imbalances, barometric pressure changes or sinus problems. Knowing what causes your migraines can helpful, especially in terms of prevention, but not necessary to receive relief from acupuncture. If you know the cause then it can help build a picture of what is happening in your overall health that could be contributing to the migraines, but even without, the treatment is based on your symptoms, both related to your migraines as well as other aspects of your health. Balancing certain internal sensitivities can help your body cope better with the "insult" that is causing your migraines. For example, with sensitivity to barometric pressure changes, there is often an internal Dampness (with possible symptoms such as heavy fatigue, sinus issues, loose bowel movments, achy joints) along with stagnation (stagnation = pain, discomfort, tightness both physical and/or emotional) that leaves the sufferer susceptible. With hormonal fluxuations, the patient usually has migraines before their menstrual cycle, during peri-menopause or even after menopause; by balancing the hormones, the migraines lessen in severity and frequency and eventually go away.
The biggest benefit of using acupuncture to treat migraines is that it works with your body to correct the imbalance that is causing the migraines in the first place. Once the imbalance is corrected, the body operates as it should and there are no migraines.
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