Headaches may result from any number of factors, including tension, muscle contraction, vascular problems, withdrawal from certain medications, abscesses, injury and even prolonged stress.  Headaches are one of the most common medical complaints in North America.  Nearly everyone will suffer a headache at some point in time which prompts people to treat themselves or seek professional assistance.  Some estimates say that up to 50 million North Americans suffer from severe long-lasting, recurring headaches.  While some medications do seem to help with the pain of certain patterns, many people would prefer to avoid this course of action because of the cost and possibility of side effects.  Most headaches are not necessarily symptomatic of another condition; they can be very distracting and account for significant amounts of time lost from family and work.

What types of headaches are there ?

Headaches generally fall into three main categories:

Tension: Tension type headaches are the most frequent.  This is due to a variety of causes, however the primary factor involved in this type of headache is stress.  Patients who endure tension-type headaches usually feel mild to moderate pain on both sides of the head.  The pain is usually described as tight, stiff or constricting, as if something is being wrapped around your head and squeezed tightly.

Migraine: While migraine headaches affect far fewer people than tension-type headaches, their symptoms are much more severe.  Migraines can be mysterious and spontaneous, as they can be due to hormonal imbalances, genetic factors, trauma, intestinal toxicity, emotional issues etc.  These types of headache typically affect women more frequently than men with pain that usually occurs on one side of the face and head.  Migraines can be so severe that they can cause loss of appetite, blurred vision, nausea and even vomiting.

Cervicogenic:  Cervicogenic headaches are the most recently diagnosed type of headache and are musculo-skeletal in nature.  They may be caused by pain in the neck or spine that is transferred to the head.  Many times, cervicogenic headaches are usually alleviated with various alternative therapies which include, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, etc.

What can Acupuncture / Chinese Medicine do for headaches ?

We are very fortunate that in this age there are a large number of natural treatment options for headaches that can effectively eradicate the cause or at the very least significantly reduce the pain level.  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a very consistent and philosophically based framework for headache etiology, physiology, diagnosis and treatment strategy.  Chinese medicine looks for a unifying theme through the patient’s entire presentation.  Thus, if a patient presets with a specific type of headache we try to identify a pattern of disharmony that is based on all of the patient’s symptoms.  Acupuncture, as an effective treatment modality, has been applied to headaches from the earliest beginnings of TCM.  Acupuncture is not only effective for migraine headaches, but also works well with tension, cluster, post-traumatic, and disease related headaches that might be due to sinus problems, high blood pressure or even sleeping disorders.  The greatest advantage of acupuncture over western medicine is that it does virtually no harm and no side effects.  Some medications can have serious side effects and can in some instances actually lead to patients experiencing “rebound” headaches.

It is my intent to provide you with some clarity on headaches, why they occur and some very effective treatment options.  I have been practicing Acupuncture in the North York area for over ten years, should you have any questions please do not hesitate to call and discuss your concerns at 416-218-8870.  I have treated thousands of patients with headaches with great success over the years and strongly recommend Acupuncture as an effective treatment option.

To your health,

Shant Filo R.Ac

Ypnge and Finch, North York