Headaches can be due to a multitude of factors; arthritis of the neck, dental problems, sinusitis, stress and tension, and head injury are a few of the many causes. Headaches have been dealt with as a separate section because they are so common and they span many of the ‘body systems’.
Migraine is a particular type of headache and worthy of special mention. Migraine can be induced by a variety of stimuli such as foods, noise and stress, and such headaches are usually accompanied by severe incapacitating pain, nausea, vomiting, and visual patterns or flashes in front of the eyes. Many people describe severe ‘tension headaches’ as migraines and although these headaches are not strictly migraines, the dividing line between other headaches and migraine is frequently rather woolly. Migraine is probably best thought of as a severe headache associated with nausea.
Headaches are a common complaint and a notoriously difficult one to treat effectively, and they can be the cause of a considerable amount of distress and marital disharmony. Acupuncture has been used to treat a wide variety of headaches, particularly migrainous headaches, and the results obtained have been very encouraging. The published work suggests that between 65-95 per cent of all headache sufferers obtain significant and long lasting pain relief from acupuncture treatment. Migraines seem to respond as well as, if not better than, other types of headache.
Acupuncture therapy for headaches may cause the headaches to vanish completely, or occur with a markedly decreased intensity and/or frequency. The pain relief resulting from acupuncture can sometimes be maintained for some years and re-treatment is usually required less frequently for headaches: than for other conditions such as osteoarthritis.