How Can Acupuncture Help With Migraines?


Most people think of  migraines as a bad headache but there is more to them than that. For those of you who suffer with migraines, whether occasionally or frequently, that doesn’t begin to describe how they affect every part of your life.

The anatomy of a migraine

There are several types of migraine, but most are characterised by the severe pain radiating on one side of the head.

Typical symptoms of migraine are often experienced in phases, where people start to feel tired and irritable, then comes sensitivity to light, sound and smells, stiff neck and mood changes, followed by throbbing headache and fatigue. With some forms there can be pins and needles, numbness, nausea (vomiting even), disorientation or confusion.

All in all, it is a thoroughly unpleasant experience.

The migraine impact

The causes are numerous and individual to each person, but the impact on quality of life is much the same and always wide-reaching. Around 86 million workdays are lost in the UK alone, due to migraine. The cost in healthcare is about £1 billion.

This of course has an impact on the economy. Far harder to calculate is the far-reaching impact it has in other areas of people’s lives. It has effects emotional wellbeing, as sufferers are more prone to anxiety and depression. This has obvious consequences for them, their family and friends, as they are unable to fully participate in their lives, whether it be work performance or other activities.

If you don’t want to take drugs

So, what can be done to help alleviate symptoms and prevent occurrence of migraines?

Beyond using pharmaceuticals for pain relief, other interventions can be used to treat and prevent symptoms.

A healthy diet free of nitrates and trigger foods (diary in some) can help, while adding extra magnesium helps with prevention. Tracking your diet and noting what you were eating and drinking can help you narrow down what might be the triggers for your attacks.

Acupuncture for Migraines

In my practice, I have found acupuncture really helpful for my clients.

First of all, it can help with pain relief. It does this by stimulating the release of endorphins, those feel-good hormones, helping you to relax and rest.  Some medical studies have shown that low serotonin is sometimes linked to migraines and acupuncture can help to level that out.

It can also help considerably with the reduction in frequency of attacks, and the extent to which they affect you when they do occur. It does this by restoring healthy blood flow and reducing inflammation in and around your head and neck.

Shane’s experience

A client of mine, Shane, suffered with migraines regularly before she came to see me. Alongside excruciating headaches, she would experience violent vomiting. Her migraines would last for days and pain killers had no effect. But after just one session her symptoms began to improve immediately:

“The sickness went away and the headaches were much less severe. My treatment was weekly at first and after about 3 sessions my migraines went away.”

Shane continues to have occasional preventative sessions. She says:

I absolutely can’t recommend Jane enough and will continue to have treatments in the future.

Want to know more?

To learn more about migraines, symptoms, causes and relief, you can visit the link to the British Acupuncture Council factsheet. We are members of the British Acupuncture Council, the UK’s largest regulatory body for acupuncturists. That means you can visit us with confidence.


So if, like Shane, you are suffering with migraines, don’t wait to exhaust all the options before you get in touch with me. Call for an exploratory chat, or book here