Tension Headaches and Acupuncture

Tension headaches are a type of headache caused by muscle constrictions in the head and neck.  These muscular systems thereby influence blood flow to the brain and surrounding tissues.  A range of foods, chemical toxins, activity, and environmental stressors can cause Tension Headaches. Most commonly, tension headaches can occur after staring at a computer screen for too long or after driving a car for many hours. Cold temperature or rapid changes in temperature may also trigger a tension headaches.Other factors that may trigger a tension headache include:

  • Drinking alcohol, caffeine or smoking
  • Eye strain or fatigue
  • Cold or flu or sinus infection
  • Poor posture
  • Emotional stress

The good news is, tension headaches often respond well to acupuncture treatment and the condition rarely causes any lasting injury. However, chronic tension headaches affect quality of life and may make it difficult to participate in physical or social activities.  Severe headaches may also mean sick days from work or school.  Lastly, be sure to not ignore any severe headache symptoms. Get medical attention immediately if you have any headache that begins suddenly or a headache accompanied by slurred speech, loss of balance, or a high fever.  These symptoms can indicate a more serious problem, such as a stroke, tumor, or an aneurysm.

Can acupuncture provide relief from chronic tension headaches?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a number of tools that are very effective in providing relief from tension headaches.  The treatment strategy is based on a thorough diagnosis intake of health history.  Acupuncture will generally make a measurable shift in headache frequency and intensity after only 1-2 treatments.  In general, a full course of treatment for headaches is 4-6 sessions at 1 week apart.

Acupuncture is not only effective for tension headaches, but also provides rapid relief with migraine headaches, cluster headaches, post-traumatic headaches, sinus headaches, high blood pressure headaches or sleeping disorders. The greatest advantage of acupuncture over Western medicine is that it simply spurs the body into a better state of homeostasis; nothing needs to be added or taken from the body. Some Western medications can have serious side effects and can (in some instances) actually lead to patients experiencing a “rebound” headache. Unlike synthetic drugs, acupuncture has virtually no side effects, and the procedures for treating headaches are generally quite enjoyable.  In summary, Acupuncture is very effective for the treatment of headaches and much safer than other methods of treatment.

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