Migraine Awareness
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Migraine Awareness Week

It’s understood that 1 in 7 people are affected and their lives disrupted by migraine.

“In the United Kingdom, some 25 million working, or school-days, are lost every year because of migraine alone” (Source: World Health Organisation)

At the Norfolk Clinic, we want to do our bit to raise awareness of the condition and to let you know of the various practitioners and therapies on offer to support those living with migraine. Some of our practitioners have experience of migraines themselves, and understand how bad it can be.

Acupuncture can help in the treatment of migraine by:

  • Providing pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurochumoral factors and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Zhao 2008, Zijlstra 2003, Pomeranz, 1987)
  • Reducing inflammation – by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003).
  • Reducing the degree of cortical spreading depression (an electrical wave in the brain associated with migraine) and plasma levels of calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P (both implicated in the pathophysiology of migraine) (Shi 2010).
  • Modulating extra-cranial and intracranial blood flow (Park 2009).
  • Affecting serotonin (5-hydroxytriptamine) levels in the brain (Zhong 2007). (Serotonin may be linked to the initiation of migraines; 5-HT agonists (triptans) are used against acute attacks.) (British Acupuncture council)

Angie Giles, Hypnotherapist and Counsellor at the Norfolk Clinic says hypnotherapy can help in the treatment of migraine. It is useful in two ways:

Firstly in managing stress and improving the potential for better sleep. As we know stress and poor sleep are powerful triggers for migraines and so managing and improving these is crucial. Secondly, hypnotherapy can help someone to manage and reduce the suffering of headache pain, which can feel overwhelming. The focus is on practical steps for reducing the total number of migraines, and of how to better cope during a migraine attack.

Hypnotherapy (to improve sleep habits and manage stress) has been shown to support the reduction of migraine attacks and also reduce the perception of pain and increasing someone’s feelings of ‘being more in control’ and to have less anxiety.

Mindfulness meditation and breathing awareness techniques are also thought to be helpful in preventing a build-up of stress and in managing migraine too.