MIGRAINES, HEADACHES AND FACE PAIN
Most headaches respond extremely well to electroacupuncture, whether they are due to migraines, sinus disease, or to other causes, such as neck problems. Many patients with headache will have dysfunctions or trigger points in the neck which refer pain into the head, and it is important to search for these. Treating them with acupuncture or gentle manipulation may get rid of the migraines or headaches completely for long periods of time.
There is now a growing body of research showing that electroacupuncture, in particular transcutaneous vagal nerve stimulation, is effective in reducing the severity and frequency of migraines and other types of headache, and seems to work more speedily than medication.
Patients with persistent pain in the face and jaw area often have trigger points in the muscles of the neck or face and these can set up persistent pain patterns in the face. Sometimes these are diagnosed as TMJ syndrome or as atypical facial pain. These problems can often be helped by a careful search for the trigger points which are then treated by gentle manipulation or acupuncture.
A study carried out at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in London showed that acupuncture was more effective than drugs in the treatment of migraine Jnl. of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Neuropsychiatry 1984; 47. 333-7
A more recent study from Turin, in Italy, showed that acupuncture was significantly better than a standard drug at reducing the number of migraine attacks but gave better pain relief and had fewer side effects - it upset patients less than the drug. Allais G, et al. Headache, 2002; 42; 855-861
Vagus nerve stimulation inhibits cortical spreading depression, Chen et al., PAIN: April 2016 - Volume 157 - Issue 4 - p 797-805