Migraine Specialist Adelaide

Acupuncture for Headache and Migraine

Acupuncture as a treatment for headaches and migraines has Level One evidence of efficacy. This is an irrefutable demonstration of consistent, significant positive effect.

What are Headache and Migraine?

There are many types of headache with multiple causes … throbbing, sharp, stabbing, pounding, nagging, burning, severe, vice-like, excruciating.

The most common form is the tension headache, arising from tight muscle structure in the head, neck and shoulders. These headaches usually affect both sides of the head. A more severe style of headache is often one sided, with pain felt around the temples or behind the eyes. Then there are migraines, with severe one-sided pain, often accompanied by visual distortions, nausea and photophobia.

What Causes Headache?

Tight muscles in the neck and shoulders restrict the circulation of blood and can lead to pain and tension in the head. There are three common causes for tight muscles: it can be stress, the emotional contraction that people experience which immediately translates into contracted shoulder muscles; it can be simply a result of cold contracting muscle tissue and restricting the flow of blood; or it can arise from poor posture or over-use syndrome.

More serious causes of headaches are hypertension, sinusitis, head trauma, hematoma or haemorrhage, all of which require a specific medical response.

Chinese Medicine always takes an individualised approach to treatment. The Shen Adelaide team of Chinese Medicine practitioners will adapt to the specific symptoms and body signs that any one person presents. We use the full range of Chinese Medicine skills including acupuncture, acupressure, cupping and guasha to ensure you walk out of our clinic feeling much better than when you walked in!


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Biotext. Alternative therapies and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold and White Card arrangements,. In: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs, editor.: Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs; 2010.  

Da Silva AN. Acupuncture for migraine prevention. Headache. 2015 Mar;55(3):470-3.  

Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway MR, Miake-Lye IM, Beroes JM, Shanman R, et al. VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program Reports. Evidence Map of Acupuncture. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; 2014. 

Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Vertosick EA, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 2016(6):Cd001218.  

McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised edition). © Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd, 2017: http://www.acupuncture.org.au. 

Yang Y, Que Q, Ye X, Zheng G. Verum versus sham manual acupuncture for migraine: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Acupuncture in Medicine: Journal of the British Medical Acupuncture Society. 2016 Apr;34(2):76-83. 

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