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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Jensen L.Ac.

Acupuncture for Migraines

If you suffer from migraines you know how debilitating they can be and how much they can affect your life. Migraines can be incredibly frustrating, especially when your medication doesn’t always work. If you struggle with migraines, acupuncture may offer you the relief you’re looking for.

The American Migraine Foundation states Based on a recent systematic review of 22 clinical trials involving 4985 people, there is evidence that acupuncture reduces the frequency of headache in individuals with migraine, and that the effect may be similar to that observed with preventive medications. The frequency of headache dropped by 50% or more in up to 59% of individuals receiving acupuncture and this effect can persist for more than 6 months.”

The review article Systematic Review: Acupuncture vs Standard Pharmacological Therapy for Migraine Prevention published in Headache The Journal of Head and Face Pain states that “There is growing evidence that acupuncture is just as effective and has fewer side effects than many of the standard pharmaceutical agents that are currently used.”

Although more research is needed, studies have shown that acupuncture is effective at treating migraines. In fact, the World Health Organization has even recommended acupuncture for migraine pain.

I've seen many patients get relief from their migraines with acupuncture.

Below are some tips I often recommend to my patients suffering from migraines:

  • Identify and avoid triggers - keeping a headache journal can be helpful for this.

  • Stay hydrated and eat nutritious foods regularly.

  • Manage your stress because stress can often trigger migraines. (In case you didn’t know, acupuncture also helps with stress management!)

  • Be aware of your caffeine intake - caffeine withdrawal is one of the most common causes of headaches.

  • Avoid foods that contain tyramine, which can trigger migraines for some people.

My patients who have experienced the most relief have committed to an individualized treatment plan. Ideally, I would like to see you for a series of 6-10 treatments and then ongoing for regular maintenance treatments. It’s important to stay ahead of the pain and inflammation. Once we have your migraines under control, we want to keep them at bay. Often there are many factors contributing to headaches. Over time, with acupuncture, we can help resolve many of these issues.

Even if medication is working for you, many people express the desire to decrease the amount of medication they are taking because of concerns about the negative side effects. One great advantage to acupuncture is that it doesn’t come with a laundry list of negative side effects like some pharmaceutical options do.

CMAJ-JAMC published The Role of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Migraine stating that “On the basis of the existing evidence, acupuncture should be an option for the first-line treatment of migraine to supplement other non-pharmacologic treatment options. It is at least as effective as prophylactic drug therapy, has longer-lasting effects, is safe, seems to be cost-effective, and reduces drug intake with possibly severe unwanted effects.”

If you’re looking for relief from your migraines or want to decrease your intake of migraine medication, let me help. Send me a message with questions or book an appointment online at


Do you have health concerns & wonder if acupuncture is right for you?

Key Element Acupuncture is here to help you with pain, digestion, stress, anxiety, fertility, and so much more! Call or email with questions or book an appointment online!


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