Banishing Headaches & Migraines

A multi-modality approach was one of the best ways I found to help Headaches & Migraines

Many years ago I used to suffer lot of debilitating migraines and headaches. Actually if I did get a headache, I was thankful because that was never as bad as a migraine, that could make you bed ridden with a head feeling like ten hangovers accompanied with the vomiting and light sensitivity. Even when the migraine had subsided I still felt washed out and like a train had run over me. Thankfully I haven’t had a migraine for many years and all thanks to a combination of chiropractic, acupuncture and diet and lifestyle changes.

Like many migraine and headache sufferers, mine were most likely caused by a neck injury, or whip lash, along with blocked sinuses. Current research shows that most headaches and migraines have a neck injury or neck complaint as a predisposing factor. Some neck injuries could go back to childhood or even a traumatic birth and you might not even know about it.

While neck related issues seem to be a major cause, there are many other contributing factors such as poor diet and lifestyle habits. Too many high GI carbohydrate foods and highly refined foods that interfere with blood sugars, can also cause headaches and migraine. Certain chemicals and additives in foods can also exacerbate headaches and migraines too. Let’s not forget how alcohol can be a big factor in headaches and migraines too. 

Lack of fluids and inadequate hydration can also be a big cause of headaches and migraines too. While water is important to hydrate us, water alone is not enough. We need to make sure we get electrolytes into us as well. These need to be proper electrolytes, not lolly water such as sports drinks such as gatorade and powerade. 

An imbalance of hormones, or hormonal surges, can also cause headaches and migraines and can be a big problem for women around the time of their menstrual cycle. 

One other area that is overlooked is that the sinuses are inflamed, or blocked and the associated inflammation and blockage is causing pressure and pain and causing headaches and migraines. This is a big one for many people and sadly, all too often, it is overlooked. A simple CT scan of the paranasal sinuses can see if the sinus cavity is blocked. If the sinus cavity is blocked by polypoid disease, or obstruction, it may require surgical intervention. 

Lastly the biggest headache producer of all….STRESS!

Stress will tighten up those shoulder and neck muscles and then constrict all the blood flow to the head and the next thing you know it is headache and migraine city.

Which ever way you look at it, headaches are caused from an imbalance in the body and need to be rectified. Unfortunately too many people use the band aid treatment of painkillers to try and deal with the mighty headache or migraine. Nobody can argue with the painkilling properties of a dose of panadeine forte or a pethidine injection. I’d had many a trip to the doctor to get a shot in the behind. It was either that, or my head felt like it was about to explode. Worse still the pain often gets that bad that dying would be a relief. Well, that’s how it seemed anyway. I’m sure anyone who has suffered a really bad migraine wouldn’t have minded ending it all to get out of pain.

The only problem with painkillers, is they really don’t look at fixing the cause of the problem. Not only that, all painkillers have long term side effects that can be very bad for your health and some medication can be very addictive.

Like any health problem you have to look at treating the cause and not just the symptoms. A headache or migraine is actually the symptom of a much bigger cause. The problem for most people is that they only treat this problem symptomatically or seek help when they get a migraine or headache. It is the good old band aid approach to health care.

So how do you treat headaches and migraines and try and prevent them from coming back?

The answer as I’ve said is using a multimodality approach use the ancient wonders of Acupuncture, the more modern practices of Chiropractic and addressing dietary and lifestyle changes. Like any health related condition, the management of headaches and migraines require a series of treatments to fix this problem, not a one off when you are experiencing a headache or migraine. Unfortunately I used to be one of those people who only do something about my headaches and migraines when I was suffering one. This was until I learnt that if I had regular treatments while I didn’t have a headache, then the practitioners could get to the bottom of the cause of my problems and prevent a migraine from happening. I wish I’d learnt that lesson sooner.

You will also need to address any dietary, hormonal and lifestyle issues that may be also exacerbating, or causing your headaches and migraines too. This is how I now treat people and why I use a multimodality approach to assist people and give them the best results. 

Just like many people have a misconception about getting Acupuncture, because they have a fear of needles or it may hurt, many people have misconception of Chiropractic. For one, just like acupuncture, it doesn’t hurt. and two, it isn’t about cracking bones. No bones are cracked, only gently realigned by expertly trained doctors whom have spent 5 years at university to do so. Before your first treatment, a good practitioner will usually take a series of x-rays to evaluate what needs to be done before ever adjusting the body. This way the practitioner can accurately and precisely pin point the exact cause of your particular problem. Just like with any healthcare professional, a series of questions is asked to get precise evaluation of the overall cause of your particular issue and then only after a treatment plan formulated, is the patient actually treated. Just like Chinese medicine, chiropractic looks at the cause of the problem to treat the symptoms. This is why they go so well together.

When I finally did get my headaches and migraines sorted,  I found that it was a combination of acupuncture, chiropractic, diet and lifestyle changes that gave me the best results. This is why to this day that I firmly believe that with any health condition, headaches and migraines included, that a multimodality treatment approach is the only way to go. All of this can be done alongside medical treatment options as well. Of course the cause of migraines and headaches are different for each individual and this is why individual assessment and management protocols are needed for each person. This is why people need to see an appropriate healthcare professional and not try to manage headaches and migraines on their own.

If you need help with Headaches and Migraines, give our clinic a call and let’s assist you with getting the help that you so desperately need. 

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

Acupuncture Treats, Clears & Prevents Migraines

Acupuncture on skin,Closeup.

 

 

Researchers have successfully documented not only that acupuncture is safe and effective for the relief of migraines, but also how acupuncture achieves positive outcomes.

As a past sufferer (yes past sufferer) of Migraines, I know all too well how debilitating and painful this condition can be when an attack happens. Even when the initial stage of the Migraine subsides, the aura and residual effects can last for days. While pain medication is a much needed part of the process, I also know that if you don’t administer the medication at the right time, the medication sometimes will have little, or no effect, once the migraine takes hold. Worse still, the withdrawal effects of these very strong pain medications can often then induce migraines and headaches, which then require further medication. It really can be a never-ending viscous cycle.

Migraines really do need a multimodality approach to them because the causes of them come from neck dysfunction(sublaxations), diet, blood sugars, hormones, stress and lifestyle. This is why an individual approach is always needed to properly assess, evaluate and treat migraines is needed. Too many people are just patching their condition, with a variety of treatments that really are only just getting them through to the next attack. What people need is a treatment that will not only treat the cause of their migraines, but also help prevent further migraines and give them long term relief and even cure. Acupuncture is just one component in that overall treatment and prevention. So let’s look at how acupuncture can help.

Acupuncture has been shown to induce important biological responses to prevent and alleviate migraines. Imaging studies of the brain using fMRI technology confirm that acupuncture causes specific cortical responses to achieve lasting analgesic effects. In addition, blood level measurements document specific responses to acupuncture that play an important role in preventing and eliminating pain.

Researchers conclude that acupuncture is effective for the prevention and treatment of migraine headaches. A meta-analysis of controlled clinical and laboratory investigations are the basis for the conclusion. In analysis of recent clinical trials, they showed the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for migraines, with less migraine days and less pain intensity levels when acupuncture was administered. Furthermore, no severe adverse effects occurred. A follow-up of up to three months following acupuncture treatments maintained the same results and showed that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of migraines both on the short-term and long-term basis.

In some of the investigation, researchers conducting a clinically-controlled study using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) where they found a significant decrease in the functional connectivity of the right frontoparietal network of migraine patients. This connectivity dysfunctions was found to be reversible after four weeks of treatment using acupuncture. This is another curative effect of acupuncture that is quantifiable in repeated controlled experiments.

For over 7 thousand years, people have used acupuncture in China for the treatment of various pain conditions, including migraines. It is useful, both as a supplementary treatment and as an alternative treatment, in situations where there is no response to drug therapy. Migraines are a headache disorder affecting a broad population that causes many burdens due to associated healthcare costs and people not being able to go to school and work.

Up to 25% of households in Australia and the United States have at least one member who suffers from migraines. The estimated total number of migraine patients in the United States alone exceeds 28 million and half of them have reduced work or school productivity. In Australia millions of people suffer from Migraines daily and it also affects their work, study and general day to day function, with some not even able to leave their homes due to this debilitating condition.

Scientists have uncovered some of the biochemical mechanisms responsible for acupuncture’s pain killing effects. Drugs used for the treatment of migraines not only have a analgesic action, but they also activate a reaction in the cerebral vessels. In the studies analyzed it was found that acupuncture has been found this very same analgesic action and also activated the same process in the cerebral vessels. The studies revealed acupuncture’s ability to regulate key regions of the brain affected by migraines. The areas are essentially the pain circuitry regions of the brain and cognitive components of pain processing. In addition, acupuncture also restores normal serum nitric oxide (NO) levels that have been found to be almost 55% higher in patients with migraines. Excess NO is a potent vasodilator contributing to headaches and acupuncture restores homeostasis. The regulatory effects of acupuncture can be quantified as early as the fifth acupuncture session and the effects are cumulative.

Based on these and other studies in the meta-analysis, the researchers conclude that acupuncture improves patients’ psychological profile, relieves pain, is safe and cost-effective, and has been found to be at least as effective as conventional preventative pharmacologic treatments for migraines.

At Shen Therapies we know how to treat Migraines properly and also help prevent them returning. We use a multimodaility approach that also give an individualized treatment and also looks at the individuals cause. Our aim is to prevent Migraines from happening in the first place and hopefully prevent them from returning for good. With the right care, this can be done and now research is now backing up what we have known for many years.

References:

Wang Y, Xue CC, Helme R, Da Costa C, Zheng Z (2015) Acupuncture for Frequent Migraine: A Randomized, Patient/Assessor Blinded, Controlled Trial with One-Year Follow-Up. Evid based Complement Alternat Med 2015: 920353.

Da Silva AN (2015) Acupuncture for migraine prevention. Headache 55: 470-473.

Vijayalakshmi I, Sjankar N, Saxena A, Bhatia MS (2014) Coomparison of effectiveness of acupuncture therapy and conventional drug therapy on psychological profile of migraine patients. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 58: 69-76.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Fibromyalgia

acupuncture

 

 

 

 

TCM and Fibromyalgia

Traditional acupuncture takes a holistic approach to health and regards illness as a sign that the body is out of balance. The exact pattern and degree of imbalance is unique to each individual. The traditional acupuncturists skill lies in identifying the precise nature of the underlying disharmony and selecting the most effective treatment. The choice of acupuncture points will be specific and individual to each patients needs. Traditional acupuncture can also be used as a preventive measure to strengthen the constitution and promote general wellbeing.

Fibromyalgia often happens after a chronic illness, or disease state, such as Chronic Fatigue, Ross River Fever etc. Fibromyalgia needs a multi-modality approach to treat it effectively as no single therapy on its own offers a complete fix to this issue. In Chinese Medicine Fibromyalgia is seen as a disharmony of 3 of the major organs (Spleen, Liver and Kidneys). In Chinese medicine when they talk about the Spleen they are talking about the gut and the immune system. The Kidneys is the Adrenals and the Liver is either the physical liver or the emotional side of the liver, being anger and frustration.

The major pattern of disharmony for Fibromyalgia, according to TCM, is called hot Bi-Sydrome. The Chinese believe that excess fluids cause excess fluids to build in the body (called dampness), and this causes inflammation and heat. They also say that internal wind pushes the damp around the system. Think of the wind over a fire. Basically this relates to wide spread inflammation.  Because the organs are in disharmony they cannot transport the fluids properly, detox properly and this cause stagnation in the body. Think of damming a running river and then the water builds up and becomes stagnant. This fluid accumulation, the inflammation and stagnant state cause heat and pain all over the body and this then represents itself as Fibromyalgia.

This is where acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help. The acupuncture and Chinese herbs helps stimulate the organs to work properly, the acupuncture works locally on circulation and pain, and both the herbs and acupuncture reduce inflammation and remove fluids from the body to help in the overall treatment.

On a western medicine perspective, TCM and acupuncture help to release endorphins into the body to help pain and inflammation. They also help with adrenal function and help with any stress response causing inflammation in the body. TCM and acupuncture also help with circulation of the fluids and help with the immune system and gut so that the body functions healthily again.

In modern times with the advent of TENS (Transcutaneous Electro Neuro Stimulation, or Electro stimulation), acupuncture needles can have electro pulses run through them to stimulate nerves and muscles at a local level. It also helps to stimulate more pain helping endorphins into the system and helps to transport the fluid accumulation causing the pain response and inflammation. This electro stimulation helps to increase the efficiency of the acupunctures therapeutic response and helps with increased success in the treatment of pain and arthritic like conditions like fibromyalgia. This can be seen in many of the latest studies on helping pain be electro-acupuncture.

Acupuncture may help relieve pain in patients with fibromyalgia by:

  • altering the brains chemistry, increasing endorphins (Han 2004) and neuropeptide Y levels (Lee 2009; Cheng 2009), and reducing serotonin levels (Zhou 2008);
  • evoking short-term increases in mu -opioid receptors binding potential, in multiple pain and sensory processing regions of the brain (Harris 2009);
  • stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz 1987, Zhao 2008);
  • reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003)
  • improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling.

The Chinese have been treating Fibromyalgia like symptoms for centuries with acupuncture and Chinese herbs and had great success in doing so. While this modern disease state may be known by another name to Chinese Medicine, the cause is still the same as it was 10,000 years ago. In Chinese Medicine they treat the cause to fix a complaint, not treat the symptoms and hope the cause gets fixed at the same time. Basically stress, diet, poor gut function, poor adrenal function, lifestyle and emotional factors and disease states (chronic fatigue, EBV, Ross River etc) are all the cause and these all need to be addressed to fix Fibromylagia. Just addressing the pain (the symptoms) isn’t going to fix this complex issue.

 

 

About Us

‘Shen’ means Spirit or Soul. In order to heal the body we must first heal the soul

Over 12, 500 * babies helped into the world and still counting

  • Assisting with Fertility, Gynaecology & Pregnancy
  • Sports and Remedial therapy, Chronic Illness management, Weight Management
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture
  • Biomesotherapy & Moxibustion
  • Massage and Cupping
  • Detox programs and general wellness

Shen Therapies was established in 1995 and are known as leaders in the fields of Natural Fertility, Pregnancy and Gynaecology. Our Fertility Program may assist in increasing fertility success rates and we have now assisted over 12,500 * healthy babies into the world. We can also assist in safely turn Breech Babies using Acupuncture and Moxibustion and provide Natural Induction services 

*(Please see our success rates in the menu section. Our Fertility success rates are based on doing our highly successful Fertility Program and our statistics were done independently)

In addition to Fertility, Gynaecology, Pregnancy and Women and Men’s Health, which is looked at on a medical level, we also use Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Nutrition and Holistic medicine, to treat the cause of many other disorders. This integrative medicine modalities work on several levels to:

  • Reduce the likelihood of a condition returning
  • Balance and harmonise the organs and the body overall
  • Treat imbalances before they even lead to disease

We have programs for Chronic Disease Management successfully treating conditions that have not responded well to any other forms of medicine. Using Biomesotherapy we can assist with immediate pain relief to those experiencing severe nerve damage or musculoskeletal injuries. Shen Therapies also offers Laser Therapy for treating infants and children and we carry an extensive range of Practitioner grade herbal and nutritional supplements to benefit the whole family.

The team is lead by Dr Andrew Orr, who is Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and also has specialisation degrees in Reproductive Medicine (Master of Reproductive Medicine) and Women’s Health Medicine (Master of Women’s Health Medicine) through the faculty of medicine (UNSW). Dr Orr is also a complementary medicine practitioner, a Nutritionist, a qualified Chef and more. Our team also consists of  dedicated people providing a caring and professional environment for your health care needs. We invite you to contact us for more information or come and see us in Clinic soon.