Tips to Treat Migraines

I started having migraines when I was 51 and I am now 63 and still have several every month. Of course I have tried a preventative and I use triptans as needed, but I have not been able to reduce the headaches. Prior to menopause, I did not have migraines. Do you know if acupuncture may help? Do you have any other remedies?

Migraines have many potential triggers including environmental stressors, diet, and hormone levels. Both estrogen and progesterone level changes throughout the menstrual cycle and after menopause can be implicated.

Ancient wisdom and current research demonstrate that acupuncture can be an effective therapy in diminishing or eliminating migraine headaches. An acupuncturist trained in Chinese medicine is a good place to start. Chinese medicine does not treat migraines as one specific disease. Instead, each patient is diagnosed according to what this paradigm calls “pattern differentiation.” This allows for an individualized approach to treatment that recognizes the unique expression of an illness in every person. Acupuncture point prescriptions select combinations of points to balance out patterns of “disharmony” in the body. Your acupuncturist may choose ‘local’ points near the area of pain as well as “distal” points in the hands or feet to treat symptoms in the head. Your acupuncturist may also prescribe herbal remedies and offer suggestions for changes in diet and lifestyle to enhance your outcomes. To find a certified acupuncturist near you, visit nccaom.org

Migraines can respond to a variety of natural approaches. Biofeedback is an excellent tool for managing stress and pain responses and may be a helpful tool to prevent migraines, as well as to manage pain.

It can also be helpful to understand nutrition and gut imbalances. A healthy balance of intestinal bacteria has been shown to support estrogen metabolism in the body. It may also help to note that inflammatory symptoms such as migraines, joint pain, and irritable bowel syndrome, associated with food sensitivities can arise at any time in life, especially with hormonal shifts in menopause. A holistic physician, chiropractor, naturopath, or holistic nutritionist trained in functional nutrition may be able to identify gut imbalances and food sensitivities triggering your migraines.

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