Whenever you get a headache, you simply head for a over-the-counter pain reliever and just a few minutes of quiet does the trick. But for millions suffering from debilitating migraine headaches, the pain sometimes can be so intense that relief may seem out of reach!
With ever growing demand for effective solutions, drug companies, researchers and many medical providers are now interested in new treatment options. A widening class of devices, medications, and alternative therapies now offer many treatment alternatives to those who suffer from mild headaches to severe migraines.
In a study published in January, 2017 in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine said that acupuncture may be helpful in reducing migraine frequency attacks and making life pain free.
Researchers in China have found that with proper administration of the acupuncture therapy, it’s possible to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.
The research, which basically builds on a vast data from many smaller studies, looked at how the authentic acupuncture when compared with the sham acupuncture, is effective in reducing migraine symptoms and attacks in those who are battling this condition for more than a year.
All these treatments were carefully administered by licensed and trained acupuncturists who had at least five years of training under their belt and also have four years of active clinical experience. All recipients of true acupuncture were treated exactly in four acupoints chosen carefully by clinical experts. For the “sham group” the four points were chosen to avoid migraine relief.
Fifteen weeks after receiving this treatment at four times a week, patients of true acupuncture group experienced a reduction in average number of their migraines from 5.2 per month to 2 per month, without any adverse events requiring any medical intervention.
Migraine headaches, due to a disorder in brain, can be a source of throbbing pain that may last for hours or maybe days. About 13 percent of Americans suffer from these headaches, and some even experience pain so severe that it keeps them away from their daily routine.
“A migraine is actually an abnormal state of brain where brain cells have become hyperexcitable to any stimuli,” said Dr. John Gelfnad, assistant professor of neurology in University of California, San Francisco. She provided commentary for an elaborate JAMA study carried out to study migraines.”
Acupuncture May Be Antidote For Some Allergies
“Millions suffer from migraines, and I feel that’s probably underestimated,” she said. “Mostly the impact of migraine is underappreciated, so any research being carried out in any corner of the world is important and valuable.”
Not much is clear about the exact nature of the neurological disorder, but there’s a really strong evidence that it’s genetic.
“Usually, people fail to realize there could be a family history of their migraine,” Gelfand said. “Only just half of adults in the United States who suffer from migraine headaches have ever received any kind of diagnosis. So lots of people out there have it but they really don’t recognize what they are actually experiencing.”
“While so many migraine preventive medications are available today, many of them are not necessarily effective for all patients and may also cause some adverse effects,” Gelfand wrote.
Little relief is possible with many over-the-counter medications for those who suffer from chronic migraines, and prescription drugs can be costly or may come with so many side effects.
“People suffering from migraine…..are so desperate for some elief,” said Dr. Michael Newman, director of headache division at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Currently there is no optimal therapy, so people are interested in lot of different ways to try and control their migraines.
Newman, who was not involved in this study, also gets migraine headaches. “As a sufferer, migraines mostly take away our control, “ he said. “ They often strike without any warming, and can interfere with people’s daily lives.”
Newman, who was not involved in the study, also get chronic migraines. “As a migraine sufferer, migraines take away our control,” he said. “They strike without warning, and it can interfere with every type of plan that people who suffer with this disease have.”
Acupuncture Definitely Works, One Way Or Another
“On any normal week, I usually get four migraine attacks, “ Margret says. For the 52 year-old mother of two, headaches can be triggered by certain foods, weather, and even strong smells from perfumes.
She has seen many specialist and estimates she has tried 15 medications to control her migraines.
While deployed in France, Marget started Botox combined with authentic auriculotherpay, a form of acupuncture treatment in her ear to somehow alleviate the pain associated with her migraines. “When I started this treatment, it was great. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is just a miracle,’ “She said.
Coming Down The Pipeline
Migraine sufferers are perturbed by the lack of options that ensure complete relief and are desperately seeking alternative treatment options, including meditation and yoga.
“The promising news is that we’ve certainly made lot of inroads, and are in process of making more inroads into this,” Michael said. “So, you know, with passage of time, we’re surely going to get some cure.”
Researchers around the world work continuously to find innovative ways to treat migraines. Alternative therapies, such as stress management, biofeedback, and acupuncture has received promising results and now patients in many countries, including US, are beginning to widely accept these latest methods.
Jamla NG, a licensed acupuncturist and a pain management specialist in Los Angeles who was not involved in JAMA study, studies both the Western and Eastern traditions. She says she was not at all surprised by the study results and has seen many similar benefits in her practice.
“If you consider minutely, at cellular level, acupuncture can change the muscle cells as well as fascia, poin tot influence the expression of any pain in the body,” she said. “It also boosts body’s ability to silently recover itself from any disorder or illness and completely heal itself.
Typically, Ng hears from many of her patients who have exhausted all available medication options. She says it is common for many people to come to her before trying dozens of medications that may have so many risks involved.
Dr. Stephen, former president of the American Headache Society, says there are so many treatment options for migraine today. Most important among them are small lifestyle changes. “You should get adequate sleep, avoid getting drunk, and if you take lots of caffeine on a regular basis, start taking it on the weekends and don’t withdraw from it at once.”