Life

The GP's View: Acupuncture can prevent migraines as well as easing pain

In the case of migraines acupuncture involves inserting very fine needles into the face and head
Dr Martin Scurr

ACUPUNCTURE is sometimes recommended for pain, but having looked at emerging evidence I think those who have regular migraines could also do well to consider using it.

By ‘regular' I mean anyone who is having four or more migraines a month and who is using preventative (prophylactic) treatment.

The danger is medication dependency, and falling into the vicious circle of the medication itself causing a withdrawal headache as the drug wears off.

A meta-analysis (combining the findings of a number of research studies) recently published in the Journal of Neurology suggests that acupuncture is superior to drug treatment. The drug treatment in these studies was beta-blockers – one of the standard preventatives.

Acupuncture involves inserting very fine needles, in this case into the face and head, during treatments. They are thought to reduce pain by releasing endorphins or affecting nerve pathways.

If you have frequent migraines, consider acupuncture – even if only in addition to any current preventative medication. It may not always be available on the NHS, so ensure you choose an acupuncturist who is a trained and ethical practitioner, prepared to read the research.

© Solo dmg media

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