Alternative therapies are popular among a lot of migraine sufferers as a means of treating migraines. Not only are they generally less likely to have side effects than pharmaceutical drugs, but many alternative therapies can be taken or conducted alongside pharmaceutical treatments.
One of these alternative treatments is acupuncture – a form of traditional Chinese medicine which has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. As for migraine specifically, a 2016 review found that acupuncture may be able to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.
There are quite a few positives about using acupuncture to treat migraines. For one it’s relatively inexpensive, for another it has few side effects, and most importantly an increasing body of research suggests that it can help to prevent or decrease the frequency of migraines.
As for downsides, one of the biggest ones has to be that it involves being pierced with needles. If you don’t mind needles so much, this isn’t a huge problem, but it is important to be sure that the needles are sterile as unclean acupuncture needles can spread disease and infection.
Another con for acupuncture is that occasionally, when administered incorrectly, acupuncture can cause damage to internal organs. A paper from 2010 documented 90 acupuncture-related deaths, the majority of which were down to needles damaging organs.
The other big con for acupuncture is that about 10% of people who have it report having side effects from the treatment. These include nausea, fatigue, and, somewhat ironically, headaches.
There are good things and bad things about acupuncture so it’s not a simple case of it being a win-win treatment option. However, since two of the biggest cons for acupuncture come from improper delivery, if you do decide to try it in an effort to reduce your migraine frequency just be certain that the practitioner you are seeking treatment from is reliable and properly qualified.