I have literally tried every migraine preventative and/or treatment out there. If you were to give me a list with all the possible preventatives, I would place a check mark by each of them because over the past 20 years, I have tried them.
The only thing that I had not tried was acupuncture. My neurologist said I would most likely benefit from it. He told me that many patients do find it helps migraines but because it is expensive most people can’t continue with it (and it the type of treatment you need on a regular basis). We are blessed in that insurance covers some of the treatment. There is a procedure called Dry Needling that is similar to acupuncture however it is performed by a certified Physical Therapist. I think that is more frequently covered by insurance and possibly more affordable (so maybe try that if you cannot afford to do the acupuncture. I don’t have experience with it so I can’t comment on it’s effect).
So, yesterday my mother and I ventured into the land of acupuncture. The 5,000 year old eastern medical practice. It is absolutely fascinating. Before the treatment, the Doctor gave us an education on the practice and the science behind it. He looked at my palms and asked if they are always so pink (yes). He said that is a clear sign that my system is out of balance (no surprise—history of chron’s, leukemia, horrific migraines—and all of the meds I take for those conditions, yes I would suspect that my system is out of balance).
There is an extensive amount of education that I do not yet understand well enough to explain. The bit that I do understand—Chinese medicine centers around balance and harmony. “Chi” is what the Chinese use to describe life force/energy (maybe similar to western medicine’s notations of nervous system?). There is yin and yang energy in all of our organs and though some organs are supposed to be predominantly one or the other, each organ has levels of both. When we have too much yin or yang, our systems get out of balance and our “chi” is blocked, leading to symptoms or conditions, ie migraines, crohn’s (a lot of autoimmune issues are treatable with acupuncture).
*I have quite a bit of learning to do before I can explain it well.
After the consultation part of our session, mother and I went into a room where the Doctor used a Q-tip and touched different acupressure points. Some spots were very tender. He pressed hard but quickly. Then he took (sterile, single-use) needles and placed them in all of the spots that he had pressed with Q-tip. He explained that he had opened the channels for the chi to flow when he used the Q-tip and then by placing the needles, he was allowing for my chi to flow for the 35 minutes that I lay there. It did not hurt at all. In fact, it was extremely relaxing, like someone poured a relaxing, calming balm over me (I know that sounds weird–but it was like a yummy warm blanket + massage on a freezing day) when all I was really doing was lying there with needles placed in head/face, arms/hands, legs/feet.
After removing the needles, my doctor placed acupuncture “seeds” in my ear on spots that correlate with various systems that need to be balanced. I am to press each seed for 1 minute/day to help keep my meridian channels open so that my chi can flow as it should. Basically they are a way that my doctor is trying to keep my system in balance until my next acupuncture appointment which is in 3 days.
Click here to read an article re: the acupuncture seeds (the article is not associated with my doctor/practice but it is educational).
I feel hopeful, and will certainly keep you posted.