Arthritis is a disorder affecting one or more joints of the body. It is characterized as inflammation, pain, and stiffness of the joints. Arthritis can also present as redness, warmth, swelling and decreased range of motion in the affected joint or joints. Onset can be gradual or sudden.

Facts About Arthritis

There are actually over 100 different classifications of arthritis. The two most common forms of arthritis seen clinically are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that usually occurs with age and affects the fingers, knees and hips. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that often affects the hands and feet.

Headaches also are known as cephalgia, is the pain located anywhere in the region of the head. Headaches are not felt in brain tissue, which is not sensitive to pain because there are no pain receptors in brain tissue. The pain is caused by pain-sensitive structures around the brain such as meninges the tissues that cover around the brain; the periosteum that covers on the bones, and the scalp.

Facts About Headaches

Within the head and neck there are pain-sensitive structures that can be divided into two different categories: Inside the cranium and outside the cranium. Outside the cranium headaches can affect the periosteum of skull, muscles, nerves, arteries & veins, subcutaneous tissue, eyes, sinuses, and mucous membranes. Inside the cranium headaches can affect blood vessels, meninges, and cranial nerves.

Most Common Types of Headaches

  • Migraines Headaches

  • Tension Headaches

  • Cluster Headaches

  • Post-Traumatic Headache

Migraines

Migraines are believed to be due to a mixture of both environmental and genetic factors. About two-thirds of cases run in the family. Changes in hormone levels also play a role in migraines especially as it pertains to age and gender. There is a higher rate boys who suffer from migraines than girls before puberty however in adulthood women suffer from migraines two to three times more than men. The risk of migraines usually decreases during pregnancy. The underlying mechanisms are not fully known. It is believed to involve the nerves and blood vessels of the brain.

Migraine Triggers

  • Allergens

  • Hormonal Imbalance

  • Stress

  • Fatigue

  • Diet

  • Environmental Factors (Weather Changes)

Acupuncture For Headaches

Acupuncture treatment for headaches of any type is very effective. Firstly, it is important to differentiate between chronic and acute headaches. Typically chronic headaches are stemming from an internal deficiency of qi and blood to the head, whereas acute headaches are stemming from a blockage of qi and blood in the head. Since headaches can be affecting many different structures within the head and neck area, it is also important to discover the location of the headache. After obtaining some more information, we then can diagnose what kind of headache a patient has and administer the proper treatment plan.

Acupuncture Vs Western Medicine

In Western Medicine, currently available is aspirin based (Tylenol, Excedrin,) plus stronger pharmaceuticals. These pain killers only hide the headache by numbing the response of the pain receptors. Long term use of painkillers will have reduced effects and cause you to increase the dosage over a period of time to get the same relief. Long term use of painkillers will also have damaging effects on the nervous system and the internal organs, specifically the liver and kidneys.

In Acupuncture Treatment there are no side effects from prolonged treatment. Acupuncture treatment for headaches seeks to harmonize our internal systems to provide long term relief. If headaches are chronic our aim is to tonify deficiency of qi and blood, if the headaches are acute our aim is to remove stagnation due to excess, and if the pattern is mixed we will tonify deficiency while removing stagnation from excess. Typically acupuncture, massage, cupping, electric stimulation, and Chinese Herbs will be used as part of any treatment for headaches.

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