A headache is just a headache, right?
Well, not really - headaches can be medically diagnosed into as many as 150 different categories. But, effective manual therapy, somtimes including acupuncture, can effectively relieve these debilitating conditions.
Some of the most common headache types
Is a muscle contraction headache which causes mild to moderate pain and can come and go over a prolonged period of time. Those with tension headaches commonly have trigger points in the neck muscles which may be de-activated using gently dry needling techniques.
The exact cause of migraines is unknown. They are neurovascular in nature and are related to changes in the brain. Migraine pain is moderate to severe, often described as pounding and throbbing pain. Migraines can occur frequently in any month and last from a few hours to a few days. Migraines are associated with symptoms such as:
- sensitivity to light
- noise or odours
- nausea or vomiting
- loss of appetite
- stomach upset
- abdominal pain
The first step to dealing with a migraine headache is to try and identify what triggers the headache.
Issues such as lack of sleep or sleeping in a bad position, not eating at regular times, eating foods that don't agree with you, excessive caffeine, specific environments, or stress. When you know what triggers your headache you can make attempts to avoid them.
Migraines are commonly associated with neck stiffness and dysfunction and treatment of the neck with physiotherapy can reduce the severity and frequency of migraines. It is understood that trigger points in the neck muscles can trigger migraine attacks and these can be deactivated using gentle dry needling. We also have new evidence that medical acupuncture used at certain points which regulate the central nervous system can also help settle a migraine attack as well as reduce the frequency and severity of future attacks (Linde et al, 2009)
The Sinus headache
A common type of secondary headache and sometimes linked to the condition called sinusitis.
These are associated with a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead or bridge of the nose.
Symptoms could include:
- Sudden head movement intensifies the pain
- nasal discharge
- feeling of fullness in the ears
- facial swelling
Acupuncture for sinusitis
Medical Acupuncture is being used alongside conventional medical treatment by growing numbers of medical doctors and allied health practitioners such as Chartered Physiotherapists. Medical Acupuncture can be very effective in providing pain relief and a reduction in congestion. This allows better air flow through the sinuses and an improvement in immune function.
Many people report immediate reduction in pain in a single session, with rapid improvement in breathing and the sense of smell. Medical acupuncture assists to dry up the post-nasal drip and stimulates the body to heal and clear inflammation. The number of sessions required will vary according to how long the sinus problems have been present, but commonly a short course of approximately 4 sessions will make a substantial difference.
Chartered Physiotherapists assess and treat headaches by identifying potential causes and suggesting ways to improve posture or poison. Detailed assessment of posture, spine and upper neck region will bring the actual pain sources to light.
Manual therapy is highly effective in freeing up tight or restricted muscles and joints.
Medical Acupuncture has also proven highly effective in treating a range of headache types.