Monday, August 26, 2013

Migraine Treatment and Prevention

The countdown is on for Migraine Awareness Week. My patients (and friends!) will concede that one of my favorite parts of my practice is providing acupuncture for migraine sufferers. The techniques available to individuals when they come to our clinic are unique in our community. Many find immediate and profound relief from acupuncture, for others it may take a few sessions. Regardless, however, I believe that resolution IS possible. Offering education and guidance for at home care is always part of the regimen. Below are some of the key points. Read on and let us know - what is your experience with migraines and acupuncture relief? Have you discovered any techniques you can use on yourself that provide immediate relief?

Try massage at the red points above!
Many people find that applying gentle pressure to the head, face, and neck during a migraine can help ease the pain. Techniques to try:
  • Press the brow line and under the eyes.
  • Rub the temples and jaw in a circular motion.
  • Massage the base of the skull with a tennis ball.

Diet Changes
Some people find that certain foods trigger their migraines. Common trigger foods include alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, canned foods, cured or processed meats, aged cheeses, cultured dairy, MSG, and aspartame. Keeping track of what you eat with a food diary can help you identify what you ate before a migraine came on. Try eliminating these foods one at a time to see if it improves your migraines.

Good Habits Fight Migraines
Your lifestyle can have a big impact on how often you get migraines. These tips can help:
  • Keep a migraine diary to track your triggers.
  • Don't skip meals.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Be Like The World’s Top Men’s Tennis Player - Drink Warm Water!

Djokovic May Be Hot But His Drinks Are Warm
Novak Djokovic is the No.1 male tennis player in the world right now, and he follows a strict diet to maintain his health and superiority on the court.
The Wall Street Journal wrote about Djokavic’s new book, in it he explains his diet. He writes that he does not consume caffeine or sugar and only drinks warm water all day long. Yes, warm water! This fact caught my interest because Chinese Medicine advocates that we drink water at room temperature or warm and that  to avoid ice water. In his book, Djokavic’s writes that cold water "slows digestion” and "diverts blood away from where I want it—in my muscles." He seems to have a philosophy that  is very similar to Chinese Medicine. In traditional Chinese Medicine, the constant consumption of cold water and the use of ice in drinks is harmful because our bodies need to maintain an internal heat in order to absorb nutrients. Cold, when ingested, constricts the blood vessels and hinders our digestive process. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Djokovic uses acupuncture and herbs.

What temperature is the water you drink? Are you willing to try to only drink warm water all day and see if you feel the benefits? 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tis the Season....

This month we're finding family, friends, and patients alike are MISERABLE. As if over night, the weeds are in bloom bringing sniffles, coughs, itchiness and general discomfort. Seems like the perfect storm - and also the perfect time to remind you that studies show Acupuncture will help!
Don't be miserable this week, we're here to help!
Most patients plagued with sniffles brought on by seasonal allergies turn to antihistamines for relief, but when they don't get relief, some opt for alternative treatments like acupuncture.

In a study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers examined 422 people who tested positive for pollen allergies and had allergic nasal symptoms such as a runny nose. The participants reported their symptoms as well as what medication and doses they used to treat them.

The researchers then divided them into three groups; one received 12 acupuncture treatments and took antihistamines as needed, a second group received 12 fake acupuncture treatments (needles placed at random, non-meaningful points in the body) and took antihistamines as needed, while the final group only took only antihistamines for symptoms.

After two months, the researchers asked the patients about their symptoms and how much medication they used. The participants who received the real acupuncture treatments with their antihistamines showed the greatest improvement in their allergy symptoms and less use of antihistamines compared to the other groups.

Dr. Remy Coeytaux of the Duke Clinical Research Institute and Dr. Jongbae of the Regional Center for Neurosensory Disorders and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote an editorial accompanying the study. They write: "It may be time to begin asking such questions as: How does acupuncture compare directly with other therapeutic approaches? Which of the many acupuncture traditions or approaches is most effective or appropriate for a given clinical indication? What outcomes or process measures should we be assessing in clinical trials of acupuncture? Is the magnitude of effect, if any, associated with acupuncture for a given clinical indication 'worth it' from the perspective of patients, payers, or policymakers?"

In the meantime, study author Dr. Benno Brinkhaus of the Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics at Charité University Medical Center in Berlin wrote in an e-mail response describing the study that "From my experience as a physician and acupuncturist, and as a researcher, I would recommend trying acupuncture if patients are not satisfied with the conventional anti-allergic medication or treatment or they suffer from more or less serious sides effects of the conventional medication. Also because acupuncture is a relative safe treatment."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Can Acupuncture Cure My Migraine?

Migraines affect up to 12% of the US population (36 million people). Around two thirds of sufferers are women. The first week of September is Migraine Awareness week. We at Health On Point would like to offer special sessions, additional education and support for those in the community who suffer with migraine headaches.

This week we will start with a personal story. Jane Elliott is a health reporter at BBC News. Below is an excerpt in which she discusses living with this condition and how acupuncture is offering a respite.

Even as a tiny baby, I am told, I used to hold my head, go pale, and vomit. As I grew older the migraines started to follow a more defined pattern.

It seemed that anything that I liked and enjoyed could prove a trigger: chocolate, too much orange juice, Coca cola, excitement over parties or school trips.

In the end my parents would not tell me about a planned treat until minutes before we left in the hope I would keep calm and avoid 'getting worked up'.

I can remember a sudden attack on the way home from school, aged about 10, left me in agony, being sick on the roadside and wondering how I was going to manage the short distance home.

And as I got older, I quickly learnt that even a small glass of red wine always has disastrous results, although I can drink small amounts of white wine with no ill effect.

Exhaustion is another big trigger, and as a mother of two young children I have found the frequency of my attacks increasing over the last four years.

I know I can probably survive with one broken night's sleep, but any more than that will always mean a migraine.

In any given month I can have between one and six attacks, although during both pregnancies I was migraine free.

Some weeks are so bad that I get one horrendous attack and what I can only describe as aftershocks over the next few days.

Darkened room
In the worst attacks I am so debilitated that the pain, concentrated mainly on my left temple, seems unbearable and I have to retire to a darkened room.

First comes hours of excruciating pain and feelings of depressing nausea, then a welcome relief as I eventually vomit and as the pain recedes and I can fall into sleep.

My migraines last on average eight hours - some people suffer days of pain.

Over the years I have tried every sort of pain relief, from over-the-counter headache tablets - which only work sometimes in the very early stages - to targeted migraine drugs, which worked on many of the attacks but left me feeling nauseous.

This year, after my migraines reached an intolerable level and I found myself getting as many as three attacks a week, I decided to take immediate action.

My doctor recommended Imigran Recovery (sumatriptan), which has recently been made an over-the counter drug. He warned me that it didn't work for everyone - but it worked for me.

If I took the tablets everywhere with me and took them as soon as I started to feel the familiar warning signs they did not develop.

Not wanting to become reliant on too many drugs however, I decided to explore other ways of alleviating my migraine.

My mother recommended acupuncture, and I must admit that I was at first sceptical.

She had seen a TV programme which seemed to show a link between acupuncture and migraine relief, and she offered to pay for a course of treatments for me to see if it worked.

I didn't hold out much hope of it working, but was prepared to give it a go.

Diet changes
As well as the acupuncture, I was told to make some changes to my diet - only two cups of tea a day and no diet Coke (I normally have at least six teas daily and about one or two diet cokes a week).

Christina, my acupuncturist, warned that I was using the caffeine to boost my energy levels and advised more water instead. Cutting out the caffeine from my diet was extremely hard and I had more than a few withdrawal symptoms, although in the long-term a relatively caffeine free diet is no bad thing for my overall health.

Sessions took an hour and consisted of gentle head massage as well as the strategically placed acupuncture needles.

The first week I had two attacks, the next week I had one and I was beginning to worry that I might be one of those for whom acupuncture did not work.

But at the start of week three I had a revelation - no migraines.

I went for treatment once a week for about two months and was completely migraine free. Apart from pregnancy this was a first.

Over three months later I have had one bad migraine (last week) which I put down to an enforced break of six weeks, while the acupuncturist and I both had three week holidays.

But I am amazed it has worked. I have read reports which say acupuncture and sham acupuncture both work, although other reports have disputed that. To be honest I don't care whether it is real, or as some say an effect 'in my mind'. I can't explain why it worked for me. All I can say is that it has worked for me and I intend to keep going. 

Copyright © 2010
319-331-9312 |