For those not overly familiar with the conservative therapy world, acupuncture may seem a little bit like hocus-pocus voodoo, or a very outdated practice. Let us assure you, that could not be further from the truth! Until more recently (we’re talking the last 10 or so years) there was not a lot of high-quality evidence to support the use of acupuncture. Now there is.
While acupuncture originated as a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the type of acupuncture practiced by Dr.Jenn at our Oakville chiropractic clinic is a version modified to fit the principles and practices in the western world. The acupuncture points are the same in both versions, but the theory is a little bit different. The TCM practitioners use acupuncture to balance energies within the body. The contemporary medical acupuncture approach is slightly more direct, inserting the needles into muscles, joints and/or around nerves affected in the injury.
How Can Acupuncture Help Migraine Headaches?
Sticking needles in a painful area may seem counter-intuitive. However, when we get patients at the clinic who have been suffering from migraine headaches for years, they are often willing to try anything to help improve their situation. Migraine headaches can be completely debilitating. They have a huge negative impact on quality of life. So what do you have to lose? Try acupuncture!
What types of differences can you hope to experience from starting acupuncture treatment for migraines? The biggest benefit is a decreased frequency of migraines. In fact, scientific studies have showed that acupuncture treatment may be just as beneficial as some common preventative medications that are often prescribed to migraine suffers! Acupuncture can help decrease the frequency of migraines by up to 50% in some cases! If you’ve ever experienced a migraine you can appreciate how amazing it would be to suffer from one half as often!
In the healthcare world, we rely a lot on research to direct our practice. So when research proves that a certain therapy is beneficial, it really excites us healthcare geeks. The efficacy of acupuncture treatment was tested, in multiple studies, against no acupuncture, sham acupuncture and prophylactic medication, and guess which one was found to be the most effective? You guessed it – acupuncture! These studies proved that there is clinic benefit to treating migraine headaches with acupuncture.
Despite being practiced for hundreds of years, the ‘proof’ that acupuncture works is relatively new. Practitioners have been successfully treating all sorts of conditions with needling techniques for a long time, and many have clinical experience that has proved the technique to be effective. Only recently has acupuncture been recommended as a first-line treatment of migraine to compliment other conservative treatment options. Acupuncture has been shown to have similar efficacy as prophylactic drug therapy. The positive effects of acupuncture treatment often provides longer lasting effects (up to 6 months of improvement after an initial course of treatment) than prophylactic drug therapy. Acupuncture is safe, and does not come with the side effects that medication does. Lastly, acupuncture is extremely cost effective, with most insurance plans covering the acupuncture provided by Dr. Jenn at our clinic. Acupuncture at the clinic can be directly billed in most cases!
What To Expect From Your Acupuncture Session
Your first medical acupuncture appointment will involve an assessment of your injury and treatment as well. Dr. Jenn will work with you to find the most comfortable position to sit or lay in while the needles do their work! Different needle lengths are used for different parts of the body.
Acupuncture treatment at Nottinghill Family Wellness Centre typically involves the insertion of 4-20 needles. Each injury is unique, and the acupuncture treatment will be tailored to each individual patient. Acupuncture is a pain-free experience. Our patients often describe a small prick, or feeling of mild pressure as the needle is being inserted, but once the needles are inserted to the required depth they don’t cause any discomfort at all.
For migraine headaches, the specific points used are located in the head, neck, arms and hands. The needles stay inserted for 12-15 minutes. There is also the option to apply electrical stimulation to the needles, which helps to boost the effect and often provide a superior result. Each treatment is provided while keeping patient comfort as a top priority.
For migraine headaches a minimum of six treatments is recommended. Migraines are often a chronic condition, and those type of conditions take a little bit of time to influence.