Contact our office at (425) 686-4498 to schedule your migraine relief consult today with Dr. Heintze today to learn how we can help!
Can acupuncture be the missing link to provide lasting migraine relief?
In my practice I commonly see patients who have chronic and debilitating migraines.
We are often the last resort with the greatest results.
As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, migraines are very interesting and multi-factorial. There is often many different causes, some obvious but some that need investigative work to discover.
According to Uptodate, “Migraine is an episodic disorder, the centerpiece of which is a severe headache generally associated with nausea and/or light and sound sensitivity. It is one of the most common complaints encountered by neurologists in day-to-day practice.”
How we can help provide migraine relief
At Starting Point Acupuncture, we provide an integrative medicine approach to care. It is not a “one-size fits all” approach. Every person is unique in how migraines present and what their triggers are. Acupuncture, investigative work, and reducing the body’s response to triggers are the foundation of how we approach chronic migraines.
So where does acupuncture fit into this picture?
We LOVE to write about migraines and how acupuncture can help. Search our blog to read all the previous posts on research updates, natural approach to migraines, common migraine triggers, and the role of food allergies and migraines.
But for some new research:
In a 2013 systematic review that compared actual and placebo effects of several interventions for the treatment of migraines (1). The study showed that sham acupuncture had a stronger placebo effect than the oral pharmacological placebo, and furthermore the placebo effect of acupuncture was shown to be as strong as the true, active-drug treatment. So the research currently suggests even if one were to receive only the placebo benefit of acupuncture, it may still be as effective as taking a pharmaceutical for the treatment of migraines.
The power of acupuncture for migraine relief
For my migraine patients, they know the power of acupuncture. Often my patients come in with a migraine or headache and it is gone before they leave. yep, it can work that fast.
The release of endogenous opioids, the body’s natural pain-relievers, combined with the stimulation of endorphins, can turn the worst headache into no more than a mild annoyance within that hour-long session. Acupuncture also treats nausea and vomiting, and it balances the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (2), which is implicated in migraine pathology (3).
Stick with the prescribed treatment plan for best results
Coming in for acupuncture during the acute stage provides our doctor with valuable information about how your body is experiencing the strongest symptoms of migraine attack. This informs the treatments given afterward to prevent or reduce the severity of the next migraine. Weekly treatments down regulate stress hormones and create a more clear baseline from which to observe physiological patterns such as dietary and environmental triggers. This can help make your individual-lifestyle adjustments more effective in reducing migraines.
The goal is to set up and then reinforce a pattern of signaling in the body that is closer to the “rest and digest” mode of existence and further away from the “fight and flight” mode that governs our modern lives. Each acupuncture treatment helps reinforce the beneficial relaxing mode that reduces the prevalence of migraines.
Next steps for Migraine Relief:
Contact our office at (425) 686-4498 to schedule your migraine consult today with Dr. Heintze.
In your initial session, we will:
- Go over your concerns, health history, and current goals
- Create an individualized treatment plan and recommendations on how to provide long-term relief for your chronic migraines
- Some cases, we will order more testing, do in-office treatments to accompany our treatment plan such as acupuncture, nutrition coaching, and supplemental support.
Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. She is a pain specialist, seeing people who suffer from chronic pain, migraines, as well as digestive issues. Offering pain relief injections, acupuncture, facial rejuvenation, and nutrition consults. Telehealth Virtual consults available. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the book, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free on Amazon.
1)Meissner, K, et. al. Differential effectiveness of placebo treatments: a systematic review of migraine prophylaxis. JAMA Internal medicine. 2013 Nov 25;173(21):1941-51.
2) Wang, S-J, Zhang, J-J, and Qie, L-L. Acupuncture relieves the excessive excitation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal cortex axis function and correlates with the regulatory mechanism of GR, CRH, and ACTHR. Evidence based complementary and alternative medicine. 2014; 2014.
3)Tietjen, G. and Peterlin, B. Childhood abuse and migraine: epidemiology, sex differences, and possible mechanisms. Headache. 2011 Jun: 51(6):869-879.
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc
- Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
- Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
- Master’s Degree in Chemistry
Northern Arizona University
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