If you didn't know it before, then now you do; June is National Migraine Awareness Month, which means it's time to shed light on a little known issue that yields a whole lot of pain.
While most of you have probably dealt with headaches, really bad headaches and even migraines at some point in your lives, what may be less obvious are options for treatment that span beyond your old friend the pill bottle. And if that's the case, then let us introduce you to Dr.Aram Akopyan, Zeel's resident acupuncture expert and founder of Total Wellness Center for Healing Arts in Glendale, Calif.
As Dr. Akopyan explains, migraines are essentially caused by physiological changes that occur in the body, resulting in that sharp, stabbing, piercing headache that makes you run for the nearest dark, silent room. What causes these physiological changes to occur in the first place?
Common causes of headaches and migraines:
- Sudden or repeated stress
- Insufficient or even too much sleep
- Overeating or hunger
- Fatigue or overwork
- Alcohol consumption
- Hormonal imbalances
- Stuffy, confined environments
- Physical or mental exertion
- Weather or season changes
- Barometric pressure and altitude changes
- Exposure to excessive noise
Dr. Akopyan goes on to assure us that, while Western medical practices may be able to address the symptoms of migraines and headaches in general, "Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have been effectively used to treat headaches for thousands of years with great success."
Acupuncture treatment protocol and regimen for migraine headaches:
"In general, with combined acupuncture, dietary and lifestyle changes, one should see marked improvement in occurrence, duration and severity of migraines within three to six months of consistent treatments," Dr. Akopyan says.
At Total Wellness Center for Healing Arts, Dr. Akopyan approaches migraines in a fluid and flexible manner to ensure that he treats the condition during the prodrome phase (that is, the first phase of the attack) as often as possible. He typically suggests treatment twice per month to manage the onset of migraines thereafter. For women, this would be one treatment prior to menstruation, and one treatment 14 days after, during the ovulation period.
In addition, Dr. Akopyan encourages his patients to contact him at the onset of a headache and to arrange for an immediate visit. Doing so enables him to create a treatment that's specific and can include intense manipulations or electro-acupuncture to anticipate the headache's onset and prevent it from blossoming into a real pounder.