Acupuncture treatments effective for migraines

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.

Acupuncture treatments effective for migraines

Symptoms of a migraine:

  • pulsating pain in one or both sides of the head
  • visual/sensual auras
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • sensitivity to light, noise and/or smells
  • pain caused or made worse by physical activity
  • double vision and/or dizziness

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:

  • a underlying central nervous system disorder
  • irregularities in the blood vessel system of the brain
  • genetic link
  • abnormalities in certain types of brain chemicals and nerve pathways

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.

Acupuncture. Pain relief

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.


In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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