Migraine affects up to 15% of the UK population - around two thirds of sufferers are women. Migraine is much more than just severe headache. It is a complex condition with a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from a pulsating headache on one side of the head, to pain when combing your hair, to a sensation of numbness and even difficulty speaking and dizziness etc.
Migraine affects everyone differently and an individual's experience of the condition can also change over the years. An attack can last up to 72 hours, and sufferers experience an average of 13 attacks a year.
What happens on the inside?
Despite its prevalence, currently, there is no one medical theory that can fully explain the causes and symptoms associated with migraines. During an attack, the blood vessels in the brain dilate and then draw together with stimulation of nerve endings near the affected blood vessels. The constriction in the blood vessels is probably what causes the pain.
What can trigger migraine?
Every sufferer has a series of typical triggers for their own migraine attacks.  Examples include stress, lack of sleep, noisy,bright lights,hormonal changes, atmospheric pressure, certain food and many other, individual factors.
Sometimes it seems that anything you liked and enjoyed could prove a trigger: chocolate, orange juice, Coca cola, excitement over parties. As a result, people who suffer from migraine often have the feeling of leading only half a life are always afraid of the next attack.
Migraine and Chinese medicine
According to the principles of Chinese medicine, migraines fall into two general categories, Excess type and Deficiency type. Both result in the diminished flow of qi and blood in the head. Poor flow is experienced as pain. Excess type is caused by "Heat Rising" in the upper body resulting in congested or stuck flow in the head. Deficiency type migraines are usually chronic and recurrent and are more common in women. They are often accompanied by fatigue, and may get worse just after period when there is less blood available in the head, as the available blood must be used in the lower body.
Modern researches on Acupuncture
British doctors have found that acupuncture can reduce the number of days of migraine a person has a year, as well as reducing the amount of medication they need and days off work. The results of their study are published on the website of the British Medical Journal.
In addition, the study also shows that acupuncture appears to offer long-lasting benefits. Most of the acupuncture group only received acupuncture for the first three months of treatment, yet their headache severity scores were significantly lower than those for standard-treament only when measured a full nine months after acupuncture treatment had stopped.
Acupuncture cuts migraines
Pain killers only work sometimes in the very early stages normally. Targeted migraine drugs which work on many of the attacks leave many patients feeling nauseous. More and more people turn to acupuncture for help.
Except using traditional acupuncture points, sometimes practitioners also choose Trigger points (¡°nervous hot spots§ which cause muscles to become abnormally sensitive) for migraine patients. This kind of acupuncture is based on the theory that mis-behaving muscle groups can have on seemingly unrelated pain. Acupuncture causes an immediate relaxation of the muscle because of the effect of the ¡°micro-trauma§ to the surface of the muscle being treated.