Headache also known as cephalgia, is pain located anywhere in the the head or neck region. Headaches are not felt in brain tissue which is not sensitive to pain because there are no pain receptors in brain tissue. The pain is caused by pain-sensitive structures around the brain such as meninges the tissues that cover around the brain; the periosteum that cover on the bones, and the scalp.
Facts About Headaches
Within the head and neck there are pain-sensitive structures that can be divided into two different categories: Inside the cranium and outside the cranium. Outside the cranium headaches can affect the periosteum of skull, muscles, nerves, arteries & veins, subcutaneous tissue, eyes, sinuses, and mucous membranes. Inside the cranium headaches can affect blood vessels, meninges, and cranial nerves.
Most Common Types of Headaches
- Migraines Headaches
- Tension Headaches
- Cluster Headaches
- Post-Traumatic Headache
Acupuncture for Headaches
Acupuncture treatment for headaches is very effective. Firstly, it is important to differentiate between chronic and acute headaches. Typically chronic headaches are stemming from an internal deficiency of qi and blood to the head, whereas acute headaches are stemming from a blockage of qi and blood in the head. Since headaches can be affecting many different structures within the head and neck area, it is also important to discover the location of the headache. After obtaining some more information, we then can diagnose what kind of headache a patient has and administer the proper treatment plan.
Acupuncture Vs Western Medicine
In Western Medicine, currently available is aspirin based (tylenol, excedrin,) plus stronger pharmaceuticals. These pain killers only hide the headache by numbing the response of the pain receptors. Long term use of painkillers will have reduced effects and cause you to increase dosage over a period of time to get the same relief. Long term use of painkillers will also have damaging effect on the nervous system and the internal organs, specifically the liver and kidneys.
In Acupuncture Treatment there are no side effects from prolonged treatment. Acupuncture treatment for headaches seeks to harmonize our internal systems to provide long term relief. If headaches are chronic our aim is to tonify deficiency of qi and blood, if the headaches are acute our aim is to remove stagnation due to excess, and if the pattern is mixed we will tonify deficiency while removing stagnation from excess. Sometimes change of lifestyle like diet, exercise, time off, sleep habits, etc. may be recommended.