Most people experience a headache at some point, but according to the National Headache Foundation over 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches, including cluster and tension headaches, migraines and sinus headaches, presenting with pain ranging from mild to severe and debilitating, and often associated with accompanying symptoms such as muscle tension, nausea or facial pressure, depending on the cause. The pain that headache and migraine sufferers endure can greatly impact every aspect of their lives.
The Western medical approach to treatment of headaches mainly involves over-the-counter and prescription medications, which while often quite effective in alleviating the symptoms, do nothing to address the underlying root cause of the pain. Furthermore, many of the medications commonly used to treat headache pain, like acetaminophen and prescription headache medications, have a number of side effects, including toxicity and habituation following long-term use.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have been successfully used to relieve headaches and migraines for thousands of years and are gradually becoming a widely accepted form of treatment in the West. Chinese medicine is very effective at treating many different types of headaches, because of its ability to reduce pain and inflammation, stimulate the release of natural pain relievers and regulating pain-relieving opioid receptors, as well as produce anti-inflammatory effect.
Traditional Chinese medicine does not recognize migraines and recurring headaches as one particular condition, but rather considers them merely a symptom, which can be a result of many different possible underlying causes. A detailed medical history interview during which all aspects of a person’s health including sleep, digestion, emotional tendencies, and stress levels are discussed, serves as a basis for establishing a diagnosis as well as determining the course of treatment including acupuncture, Chinese herbs regimen, and appropriate nutritional and lifestyle changes.
Scientific research has shown acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy to offer a highly effective, natural, and virtually side-effect free approach to treatment to be more effective in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches than conventional drug therapies. Due to the holistic nature of the Chinese medicine, which aims to address the underlying patterns of disharmony and bring the entire body into balance, rather than merely focusing on the symptoms, in addition to headache resolution, the person usually experiences improvements in various aspects of their overall physical and emotional health, such as improved sleep, mood, and sense of well-being.
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