Acupuncture and acupressure are ancient forms of therapy used in a variety of contexts. It is often considered particularly effective as a form of pain management, with acupuncture for migraines and chronic headaches, together with acupressure techniques used across the globe.

What are chronic headaches?

The most common type of headache that most people will experience at one time or another is known as a tension headache. It can affect both sides of the head and can cause pressure behind the eyes and down to the neck muscles. Generally, these types of headaches will not last more than a few hours and should not cause too much disruption to everyday life.

Migraines are a specific type of headache that can range from moderate to severe. They are generally accompanied by other symptoms such as sensitivity to light or feelings of nausea. It is common for migraines to interfere with daily living, with some people forced to stay in bed or a dark room for extended periods.

Chronic headaches are those that recur 15 or more times in a single month and continue through a period of at least three months. They could be tension headaches or migraines, or other headaches known as daily persistent headaches or hemicrania continua. All can cause significant disruption.

Causes and treatment of chronic headaches

What causes headaches are often unclear, but contributing factors include tiredness and stress. Some foods and drinks may trigger a migraine, but the risk of headaches increases when you do not eat or drink enough. It means that milder headaches can often be reduced through lifestyle changes such as better diet, exercise and sleep habits. Sometimes relaxation activities such as massages or yoga can help. Pain can be managed often with over-the-counter painkillers.

If you start experiencing chronic headaches, you should talk to your doctor. Sometimes they will be able to identify the underlying cause of the headache, or they may prescribe other medication.

Acupuncture for migraines and chronic headaches

In Ancient China, pain and illness were often considered to be caused by problems with the flow of qi, or energy, around the body. Acupuncture involved inserting needles into the body’s meridians, the following channels where qi should channel, to restore it to its natural flow.

Today, acupuncture and acupressure are considered alternative or complementary therapy and are often utilized in pain management.

Acupuncture for migraines and other chronic headaches may stimulate sensory nerves that are found just under your skin and increase blood flow. It can lead to the release of endorphins, which the body then uses to relieve pain. Acupressure sessions can also be a highly relaxing experience, alleviating any stress contributing to the headache.

A combination of relaxation and pain relief makes acupressure an effective treatment for migraines and other chronic headaches. It’s an alternative to painkillers and complements prescribed medications.