Migraines are different from tension or sinus headaches. Migraine headaches are a neurological disease that cause moderate to severe, pulsing headaches often accompanied by several autonomic nervous system symptoms such as sensitivity to light. Though manageable, these headaches are a chronic and incurable condition that can have a profoundly debilitating effect on a person’s life.
Symptoms of a migraine:
What causes migraine?
Although treatable, what it is exactly that causes these headaches is not well known. Researches have determined some possible causes, but cannot say definitively what underlying factors trigger chronic migraine. Some potential theories include:
Types of migraine treatment
Migraines are often treated preemptively with preventive medications and with pain medications for when the headaches become severe. Nausea medications and antidepressant medications are often prescribed to patients in addition to preventive and pain-relief medications to manage all their symptoms. However, there are alternate treatments available to treat these patients that do not require the use of the pharmaceuticals. Among the most effective of these is acupuncture. Acupuncture treatment has been proven to work.
Benefits of acupuncture treatments
Topamax is a prescription drug manufactured by Johnson & Johnson that was approved by the FDA for treating migraines in 2004. It has since been linked to birth defects in the children of mothers who took Topamax during the early stages of their pregnancies. Topiramate is the active ingredient found in Topamax, and is generally thought to be effective in treating these symptoms. However, a recent study published by the Consumer Justice Foundation, an organization that provides the public with information about the potential dangers of certain prescription medications, points to a study conducted in Taiwan that compares the efficacy of topiramate versus acupuncture. The study—”Acupuncture Versus Topiramate in Chronic Migraine Prophylaxis: A Randomized Clinical Trial”—found that patients who were treated with acupuncture experienced a more substantial decrease in the number and severity of symptoms and a lower rate of adverse reactions compared to those treated with topiramate. Patients receiving acupuncture treatments reported a drop in the average number of headaches from 20.2 to 9.8 a month, compared to patients receiving topiramate, who reported a drop of 19.8 to 12.0. The rate of adverse reactions to acupuncture was 6 percent, whereas the rate of adverse reactions to the drug was 66 percent. In other words, acupuncture are proven to be more effective than topiramate at treating these headaches.
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