We love treating clients in Toronto with migraines because acupuncture can significantly reduce the intensity, duration and frequency of the pain. Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes that many different types of headaches and addresses the root cause of the pain. What's more, clinic studies are demonstrating that acupuncture really works to reduce migraine pain!
I will ask all kinds of questions for figure out the etiology (cause of headaches) and the specific type of headache you have. Then we will create a unique treatment plan to eliminate or greatly reduce your headaches!
Let’s look at some of the most common types of headaches:
Tension Headaches – usually accompany with tenderness or sensitivity around your neck, forehead, scalp and shoulder muscles. Often triggered by stress.
Cluster Headaches – characterized by severe burning or piercing pain. Often with pain around or behind the eye, these headaches usually arrive in a series pattern. Most common in the spring and fall.
Migraines – an intense pulsing from deep within your head. Pain can last for days, with increased sensitivity to light and sound with possible nausea or vomiting. Some people experience visual disturbances.
Allergy or Sinus Headaches – resulting from an allergic reaction – pain focused in the sinus areas of the face.
Hormonal Headaches – linked with hormonal fluctuations during menstruation, pregnancy or on birth control pills.
Caffeine Headaches – over use of caffeine product can affect blood flow to the brain. Likewise, when trying to eliminate caffeine, the body’s chemistry is changing and can lead to headaches.
Exertion Headaches – after periods of intense physical activity (crossfit, running, sexual intercourse). Usually resolve quickly.
Hypertension Headaches – High blood pressure headache is often pulsing on both sides of the head. You may experience changes in vision, numbness or tingling, shortness of breath or chest pain. This requires immediate, emergency interventions.
Post traumatic headaches – these develop following any head injury and can last for months. You should be in consultation with your doctor or concussion specialist to help manage the pain.
Equally important is where in the head the headache is felt. If it develops solely around the vertex of the head, it may be caused by stress and heightened emotional states. If it runs along the sides or is one sided, it may indicate stagnation in a channel which runs along the head (there are seven in total). Headaches which are dull and achy can be caused by deficiency of energy and nutrients, while those that are fixed and boring can be caused by ‘blood stagnation’, or improper energetic flow, and those which feel like a vice may be caused by ‘qi stagnation’ a less stubborn form of improper energetic flow.
Acupuncture is a very effective tool in managing most types of headache and migraine pain. Treatments for headaches and migraines may include Gua Sha, cupping, acupuncture and dietary therapy and lifestyle advice.
To learn more about how acupuncture can help you with managing your headaches, feel free to give me a call at 647-801-1785 to discuss how acupuncture can help!
2 Bloor St. West, suite 402
TCM Types of Migraines & Headaches
Liver Fire Migraine
Let’s discuss a powerful and pretty common migraine: Liver Fire.
These migraines are strong: acute, severe, pounding or splitting. Often found at the forehead or temporal area it may concentrate over one eye. Stress, alcohol or stimulating substances can trigger these migraines.
Accompanying symptoms include:
• Nausea or vomiting (which can alleviate the headache)
• Red, flushed face
• Sore, red eyes
• Bitter taste in mouth
• Outbursts of anger
These migraines can be devastating. They can take a client out of work and social engagements.
Treatment is geared towards reducing the intensity, frequency and duration of the migraine. During the course of treatments, many times, the accompanying symptoms disappear or reduce tremendously before the migraine pain pattern shifts. This is a good sign – the body is regulating itself and the energetic imbalance is being addressed.
Acupuncture, along with a cooling diet can be helpful. Tight muscles of the back and neck should also be addressed.
Regular stress management activities should be included as preventative care.
Kidney Yin Deficiency Migraine
Kidney deficiency headaches are divided into two main types: yin deficiency and yang deficiency. Looking at the yin type, two factors are involved: the obvious yin deficient one where the headache is a dull, persistent pain. The other factor is rising yang energy or heat which leads to the splitting headache.
So how do we know which type of kidney deficient headache/migraine you are experiencing? We need to look at all areas of health to uncover clinical features that represent this type of migraine.
Kidney yin deficient headaches are often worse in the evening and are aggravated by exertion or after sex. The head may feel slightly warm. Other symptoms of kidney yin deficiency:
• Dryness of skin, hair, eyes, vagina, mouth and throat.
• Warm dry palms.
• Flushed face, night sweating or low grade fever.
• Insomnia with nightmares or vivid dreams.
• Easily angered.
• Low back and legs feel achy, weak
• Dizzy or ringing in the ears.
• Dry stools or constipation.
Tongue looks red, thin and dry.
Keep in mind that yin energy is the body’s coolant. It has a strong relationship with blood and fluids, so when this energy is depleted we will often see heat signs or dryness.
Acupuncture treatments look to rebuild yin energies while clearing any heat and drawing down rising yang energy.
The diet should be a yin nourishing diet and exercise should be done without excess sweating (no hot yoga, hot temperature workout rooms, etc).