Migraine is usually a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head.  Many people also have symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or sound.  Migraine is a common health condition.  Migraine affects 1 in 7 people, that’s over eight million people in the United Kingdom alone, making it more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined. The World Health Organisation recognises migraine as one of the most disabling lifetime conditions yet awareness and understanding is low.

Migraine  is a complex neurological disorder.  Unfortunately many people suffer from migraine for years, which negatively impacts upon their work, family and social lives.  Medication normally used to combat migraines falls into two categories:

  • Pain-relieving medications.  Also known as acute or abortive treatment, these types of drugs are taken during migraine attacks and are designed to stop symptoms.
  • Preventive medications.  These types of drugs are taken regularly, often on a daily basis, to reduce the severity or frequency of migraines.

Acupuncture is an intervention that may help in the treatment of migraine.  It works by:migraine-blog-picture-2

  • Providing paiA migraine is usun relief – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, (Zhao 2008, Zijlstra 2003, Pomeranz, 1987)
  • Reducing inflammation – by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003).
  • Reducing the degree of cortical spreading depression (an electrical wave in the brain associated with migraine) and plasma levels of calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P (both implicated in the pathophysiology of migraine) (Shi 2010).
  • Modulating extracranial and intracranial blood flow (Park 2009).
  • Affecting serotonin (5-hydroxytriptamine) levels in the brain (Zhong 2007). (Serotonin may be linked to the initiation of migraines; 5-HT agonists (triptans) are used against acute attacks.)

Cochrane (http://www.cochrane.org/
CD001218/SYMPT_acupuncture-preventing-migraine-attacks) have recently published some updated results from the trials of acupuncture for migraine and the authors state:

“The available evidence suggests that adding acupuncture to symptomatic treatment of attacks reduces the frequency of headaches.  Contrary to the previous findings, the updated evidence also suggests that there is an effect (of acupuncture) over sham, but this effect is small.  The available trials also suggest that acupuncture may be at least similarly effective as treatment with prophylactic drugs.  Acupuncture can be considered a treatment option for patients willing to undergo this treatment.”.

For more information on acupuncture go to York Clinic Website http://www.yorkclinic.com/therapies/acupuncture.html


To book an appointment with an acupuncturist at the York Clinic, phone 01904 709688 between 9am and 6pm on weekdays, or between 9am and 2pm on Saturdays.  Alternatively, email us at email@yorkclinic.com, or use our contact form.  We will respond to you as quickly as possible.