Headache? Complementary Medicine May Help

By Angela Johnson

Do you ever experience dull-achy head pain or discomfort? Or how about a sensation of tightness or pressure on the front, sides or back of your head? If so, you may be experiencing what’s called a tension headache. It’s the most common form of headache and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an entire week. Yikes. If this type of headache is occurring more than 15 days in any given month, it’s considered chronic.

If this sounds like something you struggle with, you are not alone. Surveys estimate that 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches. You should contact your medical provider if your headaches are sudden, severe or disrupting your life in any way.

To help manage pain, as many as 38 percent of American adults and 12 percent of children turn to complementary medicine (also referred to as integrative medicine), including acupuncture. A recent review of studies found that patients who used acupuncture, in addition to their standard care (e.g., medications, etc.) had fewer headaches than those patients who only relied on standard care. When performed by trained practitioners, acupuncture is a safe treatment, and can be helpful for pain and other chronic health conditions.

For more information on how acupuncture may be of help to you, contact me via email at angela_m_johnson@rush.edu or call (312) 563-2531.

Angela Johnson, MSTOM, Dipl OM, MPH, LAc, is a nationally board-certified diplomate of Oriental medicine at Rush University Medical Center.