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Can acupuncture help hemicrania?

Q: I believe some research has been done on treating hemi-crania with acupuncture.  How effective is this? Are there any practitioners within a reasonable radius of SY7?

A:We are not aware of any research specifically on the treatment of hemicrania continua as a named condition. Obviously we have factsheets about migraine


which are very encouraging about the use of acupuncture treatment, but hemicrania continua is a relatively rare condition by comparison and there are no trials which we can locate.

Having said that, the very specific symptoms of hemicrania do possibly have significance within the systems of Chinese medicine. As you are probably aware Chinese medicine operates from an entirely different theoretical perspective, and understands the body, mind and spirit as a movement of energy, called 'qi', whose flow and balance determine the state of a person's health. Symptoms, however, what someone actually experiences, remain the same whatever system of medicine one uses, and the advantage that eastern medicine sometimes has over western medicine is that it can offer ways of understanding specific pains such as those associated with Sjaastad Syndrome and with that treatment possibilities. There are dozens of ways of classifying headaches in Chinese medicine according to location and types of pain, and repeated stabbing pains in a fixed location are often attributed to a specific kind of blockage.

The best advice we can give, however, is to go to a BAcC member local to you and seek their advice on what may be possible. There are at least 16 within a reasonable radius of where you are, and you can generate a list by using the practitioner search function on our home page. Most are only too happy to give up a little time without charge or commitment to assess whether acupuncture is the best treatment option for someone or to recommend alternatives if they think it may not be. We have heard of people using cranial osteopathy as another possible modality for treating this problem, but believe, naturally, that acupuncture is worth exploring first.


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