When most people consider relief from headache pain, medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, often comes to mind. There are however, alternative therapies to deal with headaches, and you may find the results surprising.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese therapy that has been used for centuries, and many headache sufferers have been drawn to it for its effectiveness in dealing with their headache pain.
People who suffer with chronic headaches know how difficult it is to deal with pain on a daily basis. The pain interferes with your way of life, and taking care of the problem is not altogether easy.
Using over-the-counter analgesics to deal may only be effective in the short-term, as the body can build up a resistance to medications, and punish you with a painful ‘rebound headache’ which does not respond to medication. Because of this decreased effectiveness over time, may people who are faced with long-term headache problems have sought alternative and natural therapies, such as acupuncture.
Thoughts of acupuncture may trigger frightening images in those with a fear of needles. In acupuncture, needles are placed in specific points in the body, for varying lengths of time, in order to ease many different medical problems.
Recent research into the use of acupuncture treatment has shown it may rival medication when used to treat headaches. The studies, conducted in Germany, involved using acupuncture to treat both migraines and tension headaches — the two most common types of headache.
The results published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that indeed, acupuncture was an effective form of therapy.
Advocates of acupuncture maintain that the treatment surpasses the effectiveness of medication to treat headaches. They argue that there are no side effects in the body caused by acupuncture, while there are significant side effects associated with the drugs used to ease headache pain.
Without a full body of evidence to support such claims, one should be wary. The German study shows that there is merit in the use of acupuncture treatment, but it is only one study. There needs to be more studies published regarding the use of acupuncture for headache relief before accurate conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness of the treatment. It is always possible that a placebo effect is to blame for the results.
When contemplating acupuncture, you should also consider the gateway theory. This theory states that the body can only experience so many sensations at once. Once the body reaches sensory overload, it will begin to discard some of the sensations. This theory is supported by the natural reaction of when rubbing an injury.
Imagine, for example, you have just been bit by a fly. By rubbing the place where the fly bit you, you can relieve the pain. This could be the gateway theory in action, and acupuncture therapy may work in much the same way. Your body may simply be rejecting the pain signals from the headache, and instead focusing on the pain from the needles.
Until more information is collected, be sure to fully consider all your options before choosing any treatment.