One of the commonest reasons for people presenting at my clinic is the scourge of headaches or migraines, brought on by chronic or acute stress. These can be very draining, affect concentration and pretty much make you feel like the most irritable person on the block.
Chronic pain undermines one’s sense of relaxedness and ease and many sufferers comment that they feel depressed and unenthused due to the effect of headaches on everyday life. Causative factors other than stress also must be considered and attended to accordingly, such as dietary triggers, family history, occupational conditions, dehydration, various pathologies, and so on.
Acupuncture is receiving much attention as an effective therapy for this complaint. It has the added bonus of being without side effects, unlike many of the drugs prescribed for the condition.
I personally combine acupuncture with massage to enhance the effectiveness of treatments. Many people are walking around ‘tired and wired’ and their bodies need to be retrained to relax and nutritionally supported to recover energy. Headaches are often the pilot light of an overloaded system, which needs assistance to regain balance.
One study by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, noted that “overuse of painkillers is one of the most common causes of headache, affecting about one in fifty people’. This is due to a vicious cycle set up by drug use over time.
(Headache, 1995; 35(8): 472-474).
(Headaches: diagnosis and management of headaches in young people and adults. NICE Clinical guidelines, CG150: Sept 2012, publications.nice.org.uk/headaches-cg150/guidance).
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