If you've ever suffered a migraine, you know how debilitating it can be. Unfortunately, for women whose migraines are related to their periods, the pain is something they can anticipate every month.
These menstrual migraines (sometimes called hormonal headaches) may be related to the drop in estrogen that occurs before the onset of menstruation and typically happens within a five-day window: two days before the onset of menstruation and the first three days of one's period.
Acupuncture for Menstrual Migraines
Acupuncture can be a safe, natural, and effective way to relieve the pain associated with all types of headaches, including menstrual migraines.
A clinical trial conducted in China from April 2013 to April 2014 even found that, compared to medication, acupuncture reduced the number of migraine days by an average of nearly one full day (0.94) when given over three cycles, with sustaining effects for six cycles.*
How Can Acupuncture Help?
Relax Blood Vessels
According to an article by Johns Hopkins Medicine, changes in blood flow and blood vessels in the brain may contribute to the pain of migraines, and there is research to suggest that falling estrogen levels may set off blood vessel contractions. Acupuncture helps promote healthy blood circulation and relax blood vessels.
Relieve Neck Pain
Neck pain often accompanies migraines and may even be a symptom that foreshadows an impending attack. Acupuncture can help relieve neck pain and tightness. Read our blog post here to learn more.
Acupuncture can help stimulate the release of endorphins, "feel-good" hormones that also act as a natural pain reliever. The term "endorphin" is partially derived from the word "morphine," the well-known painkiller.
Balance Your Circadian Rhythm
Migraines and sleep are often related to a vicious cycle. Inadequate sleep (either poor quality sleep or simply not enough of it) can trigger or worsen migraines. While the pain from migraines can interfere with sleep, it can also lead to spending too much time in bed in a bid to ease symptoms, thereby further throwing off your circadian rhythm. Acupuncture can help you sleep better.
Having or anticipating a menstrual migraine can be a stressful experience. Acupuncture can help relieve the stress associated with these migraines.
If you think your migraine may be related to menstruation, it can be helpful to keep a headache diary over a few months. Track the onset, duration, type (throbbing, stabbing, dull, etc.), and location of the pain, as well as any other co-current symptoms, such as nausea or sensitivity to light and sound.
The more information we have, the better we can customize a treatment plan, so reach out to us today to discuss how acupuncture may help you get back to living your life every day of the month.
*Always consult your doctor before starting or stopping any medication or treatment plan.