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Headache | Migraine

Breathing freely again with acupuncture

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) reported that medication overuse is one of the most common causes of headaches affecting about one in 50 people. Women are five times more likely to suffer from these. NICE conclude that acupuncture is the only proven method to prevent tension-type headaches and migraine and that doctors should prescribe it.

Titled Headaches: diagnosis and management of headaches in young people and adults, the NICE report says healthcare professionals should consider offering patients a course of up to 10 sessions of acupuncture, administered over a period of from five to eight weeks, for the prophylactic treatment of chronic tension-type headaches.

I would like to add that acupuncture is also very beneficial to alleviate the symptoms of cluster headaches, which are sometimes also dramatically called “céphalée suicidaire” in French, which means “suicide headaches”. “Cluster headaches are probably the worst pain that humans experience”, said Dr. Peter Goadsby Professor of Clinical Neurology at University College London. These kind of headaches are often undiagnosed, preventing patients to access to an appropriate treatment for their condition.

During an acupuncture session to treat a headache tension, a migraine, or a cluster headache,  I will ask my patient many questions in order to make the right diagnosis about his/her headache.

  1. Onset: Was it a recent or a gradual onset?
  2. Time of the Day: Is it worse in the morning or in the afternoon?
  3. Location: Nape of the neck? Forehead? Temple and Sides of the Head? Both Sides? Behind the eyes? Vertex? Whole Head?
  4. Type of Pain: Strong? Dull? Full, throbbing, bursting? Boring? Stiff? Pulling?
  5. What make it Better of Worse? Heat? Cold? Damp? Heavy Weather? Movement or activity? Stress? After of before eating? After of before periods?

I will also look at the tongue and take the pulse, in order to validate the patient’s answers to the above questions.

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