A Natural Path to Headache Relief

If you suffer from frequent headaches, or from headaches that take you out of commission for hours or even days at a time, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help. Because of the need for fast relief, many people opt for medications, but these don’t address the root of the problem and can often cause side effects when used over a long period of time. They also often lose their effectiveness over the years.

Acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbal formulas are tailored to your symptoms whether you are suffering from sinus headaches, tension headaches or migraines. Acupuncture can often stop an acute headache in just one treatment, for chronic or recurring headaches a treatment plan including 6 to 12 visits may be needed. Whatever your needs are, the treatment is always individualized to your needs.

In addition to acupuncture and herbs, self care is important in treating and preventing headaches. Try some of these tips: the same lifestyle choices that promote good health can often reduce the frequency and severity of your headaches.

* Eat healthy, whole foods (avoiding processed foods and preservatives). Don’t skip meals, and drink plenty of water daily. It’s common to get headaches from being too hungry or dehydrated.
* Exercise regularly. When you exercise, your body releases neurotransmitters that block pain signals to your brain.  If you don’t exercise much now, then just going for walks is a great place to start. (Caution: exercising too vigorously can trigger some types of headaches)
* Get enough sleep. Make your sleep a priority. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day — even on weekends. Relax before you go to bed. Read or do another quiet activity until you become drowsy. Don’t fall asleep in front of the TV. And remeber that medications that contain caffeine or other stimulants, including some headache medications, may interfere with sleep.
* Avoid too much caffeine. Sometimes caffeine helps curb headaches. In fact, many headache medications contain caffeine. But heavy daily caffeine use can cause headaches and irritability.

*Keep stress under control. Stress can often be the main cause of tension headaches. There are many ways to address your stress levels, acupuncture is a great one!

A final tip that  I recommend to patients is to keep a diary to track what triggers their headaches. In this diary note when your headaches start, what you were doing at the time, how long they last and what, if anything, provides relief. This can be a huge help in developing a treatment plan with acupuncture and for developing your own self care plan. With the help of a headache diary, you’ll notice patterns in your daily life that contribute to your headaches, and you’ll eventually notice the benefits of healthy lifestyle changes.