Migraine Headache

HA_Frontal sinus_white femaleMigraine headache is a very specific type of headache accompanied by neurological symptoms.

Some migraine sufferers note that their headache may be triggered by certain foods, such as alcohol, sulfites, and chocolate; missing meals or rest; emotional stress; and over-stimulating lights, sound or smells.

Some notice a “prodrome”: a symptom that signals the headache is beginning. This symptom may be a vision change, a smell, an eye movement, ear ringing, dizziness, or a specific pain that precedes the typical headache pattern.

The head pain is often one-sided and throbbing in nature. Associated symptoms include flashes of light behind the eye (scotomata); sensitivity to light, sound, and/or smells; nausea and/or vomiting; other visual disturbances; and neck stiffness. Most people find they must stop activity and lay in a quiet, dark room. Many find sleep helps relieve or improve symptoms, although not always.

Those suffering migraine headaches are familiar with the many pharmaceuticals to abort (triptans, anti-inflammatory medications) and prevent (Topamax, beta and calcium channel blockers) migraines. These medications may work indefinitely or may become less effective after a time. [1]

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a long record treating and preventing migraine. Many patterns that contribute to migraine—most commonly, “Liver Qi Depression/Stagnation” and “Liver Blood Stagnation”—may result in these headaches. In TCM, the “Liver System” roughly correlates to the autonomic nervous and immune systems. Many migraine sufferers note increased headache frequency during times of emotional duress. [2] [3] [4]

Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Trigger Point Therapy, Neurological Scalp Acupuncture, cupping, gua sha, and/ or pharmaceuticals may all be used to combat this difficult condition.

Headache Testimonials

Learn more about Migraine Headache
Learn more about Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine for Migraine Headache


These brief overviews of conditions represent distillations of basic and current medical reviews from the following sources:

[1] Conventional Medical Sources

 “Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine: Volumes 1 and 2, 18th Edition”. Dan Longo Anthony Fauci, Dennis Kasper, Stephen Hauser, J. Jameson, Joseph Loscalzo. McGraw-Hill Professional; (July, 2011)

Medscape eMedicine Physician’s online resource. Various review articles accessed June 2013:

Migraine Headache
Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA Chief of Neurology, Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital; Associate Professor of Neurology, Loyola University Medical Center

Tension Headache, Cluster Headache
Michelle Blanda, MD Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Summa Health System Akron City/St Thomas Hospital; Professor of Emergency Medicine, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine

Temopromandibular Joint Disorders
Charles F Guardia III, MD Instructor in Neurology, Department of Neurology, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

Trigeminal Neuralgia
Manish K Singh, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, Teaching Faculty for Pain Management and Neurology Residency Program, Hahnemann University Hospital, Drexel College of Medicine; Medical Director, Neurology and Pain Management, Jersey Institute of Neuroscience

[2], [3] “Acupuncture Energetics: A Clinical Approach for Physicians”. Joseph M. Helms. Medical Acupuncture Publishers; 1st Edition. (1995)

  • “Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text for Acupuncturists and Herbalists”. Giovanni Maciocia. Churchill Livingstone; 2 Edition (July, 2005).
  • “Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Guide”. Giovanni Maciocia. Churchill Livingstone; 1st Edition (January, 2004).

[4] Chinese Scalp Acupuncture”. Jason Ji-shun Hao, Linda Ling-zhi Hao and Honora Lee Wolfe. Blue Poppy Press; 1st Edition. (November, 2011)