Types of Headaches: Migraine, Cluster and Tension
Headaches are a common form of pain. It's a major reason for people to missing days at work or school. Nine out of ten people suffer from headaches- some are occasional, some are frequent, and some even daily. Ninety-five percent of headaches are primary headaches, such as tension, migraine, or cluster headaches.
Tension headaches are the most common type and are likely caused by tight muscles in the shoulder, neck, scalp, and jaw. This may be due to a previous injury, stress, or even from environmental factors (i.e. prolonged sitting, working at a computer). Tension headaches present as pain along both sides of the head and can often start as pain in the back of the head that spreads forward. Many people describe it as a tight band around the head.
Cluster headaches are sharp, very painful headaches that are typically centered around one eye and usually last less than an hour but can occur up to several times a day. These are one of the least common types of headaches.
Migraine headaches involve severe pain that is often throbbing, pounding, or pulsating and may occur with other symptoms such as vision changes, sensitivity to sound or light, or nausea. Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days at a time.
Genetics and environmental factors appear to play a role in the cause of migraines. Imbalances in brain chemicals, hormonal fluctuations, foods, stress, environmental changes, and medications are just a few of the triggers that can instigate a migraine.
How Acupuncture Can Treat Headaches
While many people turn to medication for headache and migraine relief, acupuncture is a safe and natural alternative treatment. A study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry compared acupuncture versus medical treatment for migraine and muscle tension headaches and showed that nearly 60% of patients improved on acupuncture while only 25% improved on medical treatment. Of 29 patients who changed from one form of treatment to the other, a larger portion preferred acupuncture to medical treatment. Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of hair-thin needles into specific points on the body and can work to balance the autonomic nervous system and decrease muscle tension. Patients who receive acupuncture treatment for headaches report less frequency of headaches and less pain due to headaches. In fact, a study at the University of North Carolina that consisted of more than 70 chronic headache sufferers found that those who had a 6-week course of acupuncture treatment reported less pain and better quality of life compared to those who did not receive acupuncture treatment.
So whether you are suffering from migraine, cluster, or tension headaches, acupuncture may be an effective solution for your headache relief. Dr. Amanda Nunier at 1st Choice Health & Wellness in New Albany, IN is now offering acupuncture treatments for headache relief. If you have any questions regarding acupuncture treatments or any other service at 1st Choice, call us at (812) 945-4500 to schedule a one-on-one consultation.