Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine for Migraines
Q: I often get migraines, but the drugs I'm taking don't seem to work. I don't want to become dependent on pain-killers. Is there any alternative?
A: Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treatment is ideal for those wanting to avoid a dependence on long-term orthodox migraine medication. When people stop taking orthodox medication, they often experience "rebound headaches" of equal severity to the original migraines. The advantage of acupuncture and Chinese herbs is that the lack of them will not trigger rebound headaches-and there are fewer side effects overall.
As an acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) practitioner, I take a two-pronged therapeutic approach to migraines. First, I seek to relieve the pain at the time of the migraine, which involves acupuncture and administering herbs at the time of the attack. Second, I seek to reduce the severity and frequency of migraines by developing a preventive course of treatment. This may eliminate the migraines altogether. The course of treatment includes follow-up acupuncture treatments and herbal formulas designed to target the specific type of migraine.
Contributor: Steve Given, LAc, acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) clinic program coordinator at Bastyr Center for Natural Health
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