According to the Migraine Trust, migraine is the third most common disease in the world.
Migraine isn’t just a headache, it’s usually a throbbing pain on one side of the head. During a migraine, you might feel sick, become sensitive to noise and light and find it difficult to have a conversation. Some people also experience numbness on one side of their body.
Doctors may offer you tablets to prevent or relieve migraine symptoms. But, what do you do if you don’t want to use drugs Are there any other ways to treat migraine?
Some migraine sufferers use acupuncture. Acupuncture originates from China. According to Chinese philosophy, a blood flow and/or energy imbalance can have an adverse effect on our bodies.
If you seek acupuncture treatment for headaches or migraine an acupuncturist is likely to insert needles above your eyebrow, at the outer edge of your eye or on your cheek.
As the needle pricks your skin you might feel it slightly and afterwards there is a chance that you will have some soreness or slight bruising.
Numerous studies have been carried out to find out about the efficacy of acupuncture treatment for migraines. A German study gave 794 migraine sufferers 11 acupuncture treatments during six weeks and concluded that acupuncture was as effective as treating the patients with beta-blockers.
In 2009 the Cochrane Review studied other trials involving a total of 4419 patients. They concluded that acupuncture can help patients suffering from acute migraine attacks. A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) lists the use of acupuncture in a number of diseases, including headaches. (Full report page 37).
A study in 2018 carried out in Brazil concluded that acupuncture does indeed reduce pain. The researchers said their participants took fewer drugs and had fewer migraine attacks.
Another treatment gaining popularity is daith piercing. This piercing is made through the smallest fold of the cartilage in your ear, just above your ear canal. The theory is that it helps to relieve migraine pain because it is an acupuncture spot.
There are no studies supporting daith piercing as a treatment for relieving migraines. Dr Fayyaz Ahmed, a neurologist and trustee of The Migraine Trust in the UK says that “there is no evidence that daith piercing work to help migraine.” If you browse the web you’ll see various opinions from people who have had daith piercing. Some say the treatment doesn’t work, while others say it has stopped their migraines completely. Is daith piercing really an effective treatment, or just the placebo effect? Have a look at this blog from the website Migraine Again.
Botox is better known as a cosmetic procedure for treating wrinkles. But, Botox has been approved as a treatment for migraines in the US since 2010 and since 2012 in the UK. You can make use of the treatment if you have headaches on at least 15 days every month and 8 of these headaches are migraines. Trials have concluded that Botox reduces the number of headaches days and therefore improves the sufferer’s quality of life. Botox doesn’t work for tension headaches though.
Botox is administered by injection in sites at the back of the neck and around the head. You’ll be given several injections at different sites. Treatment is roughly every 12 weeks. The most common side effect that’s been reported is neck pain.