Updated: Jan 19, 2021
If you are someone who gets migraines or headaches, especially if you get them often, then you know how much of an impact that they can have on your quality of life. It can be difficult, or even impossible, to think or act because of the pain in your head. When the pain comes on, finding relief often becomes the only thing that matters.
I know this first hand; it’s actually why I became an acupuncturist. I started getting migraines when I was 10 years old. I will never forget my first one.
I was taking a standardized test, when all of a sudden, I couldn’t see the little scantron bubbles. They just seemed to disappear when I would look directly at them. I tried reading the problem again, and the same thing occurred – words just vanished when I tried to look directly at them. I was very disoriented, and didn’t understand what was going on. Then…. Then the pain came.
This would occur a couple times a year for the next few years, then once or twice a month for most of my teenage years, and then, by the time I was 18, I was having them multiple times per week.
Medication helped if I caught the migraine early – at the first hint of an aura, BEFORE the pain came. If I caught it then, and took medication, I would still get a headache and be a space case for at least 24 hours, but at least I could somewhat function. If I didn’t catch it early enough, I would be looking at a minimum of 3 hours being completely useless – 10/10 pain, nausea, vomiting, bright streaks of colors distorting my vision… Made working fulltime while also a full time student quite the undertaking…
The medication was incredibly expensive, and as I mentioned only helpful to a certain extent, and I was crumbling apart. I remember sitting in my doctors office bawling because of how much pain I was in, and him just saying to me, “I don’t know what you want me to do.” I pleaded to him that I wanted him to figure out why I was in so much pain all the time, and he just told me that all he could do was prescribe me narcotic pain medications (which I cannot take because of bad reactions to), and ushered me out of the office.
At the time, I could not believe the lack of empathy – now, unfortunately, I know it all to well as I hear daily stories relayed by my patients about how they are treated in doctors offices.
Fast forward through several attempts at trying to figure out and fix my brain on my own, I eventually came to try acupuncture for headaches and migraines. Several acupuncture migraine treatments, home exercises, and a lot of Chinese herbs later, my migraines we greatly reduced, and then eliminated! This was over 15 years ago, and minus a couple migraines that I had while I was pregnant, I have been migraine free this whole time!