Osteopathy for a Migraine
Migraine: a severely painful, recurrent headaches that are sometimes accompanied by other symptoms such as visual disturbances (aura) or nausea.
There are two types of migraine – migraine with aura (formerly called common migraines) and migraine without aura (formerly called classic migraines).
If you have migraines with an aura, you may experience a visual disturbance (like seeing stars or zigzag lines or a temporary blind spot) about 30 minutes before the headache starts. Even if you don't experience an aura, you may have other warning signs in the period before the headaches starts (called prodrome), such as a craving for sweets, thirst, sleepiness, or depression.
Although there is no cure for migraines, you can manage the condition by reducing the frequency of attacks and lessening pain once an attack starts.
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Osteopathy and Migraine Headaches
Unfortunately when it comes to Migraines there is no tried and tested cure. Migraines can vary between individuals as to their symptoms and the root causes which are often multi-faceted. In many cases part of the root cause is muscular tension - either in the neck, base of the skull or even in some cases jaw muscles.
By targeting these areas of tension with gentle Osteopathic techniques we can help to prevent the occurrence of migraines and reduce their severity. Many clients have been coming to us for years as the combination of Osteopathic Therapy and Medical Acupuncture helps them to manage pain and prevent their Migraine headaches.
What Causes Migraines?
Researchers aren't sure what causes migraines, although they know it involves changes in the blood flow in the brain.
Initially, blood vessels constrict (narrow), reducing blood flow and leading to visual disturbances, difficulty speaking, weakness, numbness, or tingling sensation in one area of the body, or other similar symptoms. Later, the blood vessels dilate (enlarge) leading to increased blood flow and a severe headache. There also seems to be a genetic link to migraine headaches.
Over half of migraine patients have an affected family member. Migraine triggers can include the following: chocolate, red wine, processed meats, hormonal changes, bright light, depression, overexertion or too little sleep.
Acupuncture for Treatment of Migraines
Acupuncture has been studied as a treatment for migraine headache for more than 20 years. While not all studies have shown benefit with acupuncture, researchers do agree that acupuncture appears safe and that it may be effective for some people.
Results from a study published in 2003 suggest that receiving regular acupuncture treatment when migraine symptoms occur is as effective as taking the drug Amitriptyline (a low dose anti-depressant used here in the UK).*
In addition to needling treatment, acupuncturists may recommend lifestyle changes, such as suggestions for specific breathing techniques, and dietary modifications. All of our Medical Acupuncture practitioners are members of the British Medical Acupuncture Society and have many years experience of combining Medical Acupuncture with Traditional Osteopathy.
* Please email us if you would like the references from this research material.