July 6, 2022 – Dena Ressler, a New Jersey retiree in her 60s, experiences a “split” HeadacheIt lasted for 3 months. It was accompanied by cough and shortness of breath. After excluding serious illness, it was found that her headache was stress related.
“It was constant, scary, and it didn’t go away,” she recalls.
Ressler is a clarinetist and his band plays Klezmer music, a traditional genre of Ashkenazi Jews in Central and Eastern Europe.After weeks of pain, she decided to try acupuncture. And after 3 weeks of regular appointments, the headaches are gone and haven’t come back.
“Every once in a while, when I’m really tired, I get the same pain in my head — maybe every two months — but it’s very mild,” she says.
This isn’t the first time Ressler has used acupuncture. Decades ago, when she was in her 30s, she was seriously injured and had limited mobility.
“It took me 18 months to get to where I am now—almost fully functional,” she said. “Although I can’t ride my bike anymore, I still have to be careful not to do too much, but I can do my own yard work and be able to play the clarinet again.”
Scientific research supports acupuncture
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative HealthAcupuncture may be a reasonable option for people with: chronic pain (Include Migraine or tension-type headache), provided the acupuncturist is experienced, trained and uses sterile needles.
Chinese researchers recently Published the results of a new study 218 patients with chronic tension-type headache were studied. Most people had headaches for 11 years, with an average of 21 headache days per month.
Patients were randomly divided into two groups. A person receives “real acupuncture”. Another group received more superficial “fake” acupuncture. Both groups had 20 sessions over a 2-month period, followed by an additional 6-month follow-up.
Compared with the sham acupuncture group, more people in the real acupuncture group had improved headaches: 68.2% of the patients in the real acupuncture group experienced fewer headache days per month compared to 48.1% in the sham acupuncture group after 16 weeks. At 6 months, the number of headaches per month continued to decrease in the real acupuncture group compared with the sham acupuncture group (68.2% and 50%, respectively).
“Tension-type headaches are one of the most common types of headaches, and people with frequent headaches may be looking for alternatives to medication,” study author Ying Li, MD, PhD, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, China, said in a news release Say.
headache with women
“This is an excellent study,” says Shi-Hong Loh, an acupuncturist with offices in Hoboken and Hackensack, New Jersey, but it has its limitations.
The majority of the people in the study were women (74.5 percent in the true acupuncture group), and Loh thinks researchers haven’t paid enough attention to the role of gender in headaches and treatment response.
“In my experience, 95% of the people who come to me for headaches are women,” said Loh, former head of hematology and oncology at St Mary’s Hospital in Hoboken. While he still works at St Mary’s Hospital, he now has a private acupuncture clinic.
The acupuncture points the researchers chose were “good, but not enough in my opinion, because women have acupuncture points in other areas,” Loh said. “If I was treating a woman with a headache, I would use more points than they would and probably treat them differently than men.”
How does acupuncture treat headaches?
Chinese medicine believes that headache is a kind of depression Chi In the body’s energy pathways, acupuncture can unclog stagnant areas, allowing Chi Free flow, Loh said.
“Chi is an important force that travels through our body through pathways called meridians,” he said. According to TCM, there are 14 distinct but interconnected meridians, each connected to a different organ. Blockages lead to stagnation, This is where the disease kicks in. Placing needles in various locations on these meridians will release the blockage and eventually the pain will subside.
The mechanism “cannot be understood or tested by Western medical techniques, but according to Chinese medicine, it works,” Loh said.
Acupuncture also works for migraines
A recent study found that acupuncture can help with migraines. Researchers analyzed 15 studies involving more than 2,000 patients and found that 7 out of 10 studies showed lower frequency and intensity of headaches. Four studies find acupuncture As effective as Western medical methods, but with fewer side effects.
“Acupuncture can be used as an alternative or adjunct to drug therapy in migraine patients,” the researchers concluded.
Not “one size fits all”
Loh said, the researchers of the acupuncture study tension headache Use the same score for all people in the study. “But according to [traditional Chinese medicine], headaches are not “one size fits all”. They have different manifestations and need to use different acupuncture points. “
For example, headaches often involve the gallbladder or bladder meridian. If a person’s headache is on one side of the head, it usually involves the gallbladder meridian.So Loh then use with gallbladder. But if the headache is in the front or back of the head, it is most likely related to the bladder meridian.
Additionally, “tension headaches are usually front-to-back and can be related to poor posture and neck posture at work, often with excessive computer use. So I advise people to pay attention to their posture at work,” he said.And stress’ is a common problem that can also cause headaches, so I also recommend stress management, not just acupuncture, as part of a treatment regimen. “
For more information on how acupuncture works, how to find an acupuncturist, and what to look for, visit the links below.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
National Accreditation Council for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Council of the College of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine