Acupuncture for Headache Relief


At my acupuncture South Loop office in Chicago, we use acupuncture for headaches. Headaches are often triggered by stress, cold/flu (sinus congestion), poor posture, inflammation from injury or trauma. When these disorders are not treated properly headaches can become chronic.

The most common headaches treated with acupuncture are:

Tension headaches: Mild to moderate band-like pain that affects the whole head. In some patients acupuncture for jaw pain may be used to relieve tension and stop headache.
Migraine: Throbbing, moderate to severe pain usually on one side of the head, that is worsened by physical activities, light, sounds or smells. Patient can have nausea and vomiting. Acupuncture for migraines can be effective after just one treatment.
Cluster Headache: The pain is severe and piercing, focused around the eye but can be felt in the nostrils as well, eyes may water, droop or swell. Pain can last from 15 minutes to 3 hours. Pain can be so severe the patient cannot lay down comfortably and frequently paces.
Others: sinus headaches, hypertension and anemia headaches.

Research studies support acupuncture for the treatment of headaches.  1) 
 study states, “The available evidence suggests that a course of acupuncture consisting of at least six treatment sessions can be a valuable option for people with frequent tension-type headache".  
2) Medicine. 
"Acupuncture appears to reduce headache frequency among patients with episodic migraine"

Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that the occurrence of headache is related to exterior pathogenic factors and/or internal emotional factors. Below are some examples of this.

Exterior pathogenic factors such as cold/flu and allergies can cause headaches with or without the following symptoms: sneezing, runny nose, cough, irritated eyes, chills, or fever. Injury or trauma to the body.

Interior pathogenic factors like stress, anger, depression, excessive worrying can cause headaches with or without the following symptoms: fatigue, feeling of heaviness, digestive problems, dizziness, insomnia, irritability, stiff neck and shoulders.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we determine the type or cause of the headaches based on the patients medical history and exam taken during your appointment. We discuss the characteristics of the headaches including its frequency, duration, location, severity and associated symptoms. Based on your TCM diagnosis I will develop a treatment to suite your unique symptoms.

If you have questions about how acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help relieve your headaches email Tracie at or call (312)759-7600.