June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. More than 38 million people suffer from migraines and if you’ve never experienced one, it’s hard to understand exactly how disabling they can be. Intense, unrelenting pain, nausea, dizziness, numbness, light sensitivity and fatigue are just a few symptoms of a migraine. More than 4 million people have chronic daily migraines and most are women, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.

While there are medications that can help prevent or diminish migraines, they don’t work for everyone and they can have serious side effects. Acupuncture, however, can be an excellent tool for migraine (as well as regular headache) relief. It addresses the pain as well as some of the ancillary symptoms, such as nausea and fatigue—without negative side effects. A 2017 study published in JAMA found that acupuncture provided “long-term reduction in migraine occurrence” for those who experienced migraines without aura. Other studies have found similar benefits.

Acupuncture works by improving energy and blood flow, stimulating the release of endorphins and natural pain-relieving chemicals and helping to balance the hormonal pathways in the body. (Many women suffer migraines that are tied to hormonal shifts.) In the case of tension headaches, where muscle tightness triggers pain, acupuncture can help relax the muscles.

Every patient is different and the root cause of your migraines may be different than that of your friend’s or relative’s. If you suffer from migraines or frequent headaches or know someone who does, contact Vitality Holistic Medicine in Kansas City to learn more about acupuncture and how it may be able to help you feel and function headache free.