Anyone who suffers from headaches or migraines knows how debilitating they can be. Take Amy, a 22-year-old student whose headaches were so severe she could no longer attend classes.
When Amy came into our office her energy was low and she was clearly defeated by her headaches, which came as a sharp, stabbing pain in her temples accompanied by a severe sensitivity to light.
During the consultation, Amy told us she had severe PMS and mentioned that she’d hit her head years ago, but wasn’t sure if that was when the headaches started. She said her headaches tended to start in September every year when school began.
Our Search for the Solution Begins
According to Chinese medicine there are many types of headaches and we can determine which kind based on a person’s history, the nature of the pain, an examination of the tongue and pulse, and other accompanying symptoms.
In Amy’s case, her symptoms pointed towards a problem with blood stasis aggravated by qi-energy stagnation due to her stress from college. This diagnosis was based on the nature of her headache pain (stabbing), her history of head trauma, her PMS symptoms, and the purple aspect of her tongue – all of which pointed toward blood stasis.
The fact that her pulse was wiry and the headaches came in the fall when her stress level increased indicated liver qi-energy stagnation. Because the cause of Amy’s headaches was clear, the treatment was straightforward and the headaches were relatively easy to resolve.
Amy’s Treatment Plan
Treatment for Amy’s headaches involved acupuncture as often as three times a week combined with a herbal formula taken on a daily basis to help resolve her symptoms.
After the first acupuncture treatment, Amy’s headaches were still present but she was experiencing significantly less pain. After just two more treatments, her headaches were milder and less frequent and she was able to return to classes without aggravating her symptoms.
We recommended Amy continue weekly acupuncture for another month and after 10 treatments her headaches resolved completely.
At this point, we deemed Amy “graduated” from acupuncture and her treatment was complete. Amy was doing well and was not experiencing headaches even when faced with the stress of school. We recommended she monitor her symptoms and return immediately for treatment if she noticed them returning.
We also recommended she return for a series of preventative acupuncture treatments in late August or early September, around the time she would be returning to school.
Prognosis Looks Good
Just recently, Amy stopped in to say hello and to let us know that she is doing great and her headaches have not returned, even with the extra pressure final exams. Congratulations Amy! It’s stories like yours that make our day.
Wondering if acupuncture can help your condition? Chances are, it can! Contact us or visit Okanagan Acupuncture Centre at our downtown Kelowna location.