My first memory of migraine was when I was around 8 years old. I had been out on my bike and remember being unable to see clearly. By the time I got home I had the most horrendous pain in my head. I was fortunate that my mum knew what I was experiencing as both her and my grandma suffered with migraine and knew how to reassure me.
When I was young there was no regularity to the migraine attacks but they increased with puberty and as most people do, I tried various different medications. Unfortunately, none of the medications prevented the migraine or alleviated the pain; they only caused vomiting on top of the other symptoms so I thought I just had to live with them.
The amount of migraines experienced was variable until I became a mum for the second time. We moved house the week he was born and the frequency of migraine increased to several each week. By now they were quite debilitating with loss of sight, numbness in my tongue leading to slurred speech, tingling in my arms and hands as well as tremendous pain. The regularity of them allowed little time to recuperate and with a young family and a new home I was struggling.
My GP advised that his only other option was to put me on a preventative medication that could be potentially taken for the rest of my life. At only 25 this didn’t appeal to me so he suggested I gave acupuncture a try.
Although I was nervous and very sceptical about how using needles could make me feel better, I was also desperate to stop the migraines from occurring. This is where my life turned around; not only did the acupuncture help bring my body back into balance, the acupuncturist helped me to understand that I was never listening to what my body needed. I had been too focussed on trying to be a good mum, wife and housewife, and that my basic need of resting or taking time out was never addressed. I learnt to listen to the signs my body was giving me; sometimes it was food related and other times it was rest, but it always started with tingling in the upper gum above my front teeth.
It is 20 years since I experienced acupuncture for the first time, and through this and listening to my body I now lead a normal life without the worry that a migraine is just around the corner. Don’t get me wrong, I do still have the occasional one, but they are few and far between. The change was so impressive that I left banking and am now an acupuncturist with a first class BSc (Hons) degree and Licentiate (LicAc) in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
Whilst 20 years ago, there were no recommendations for my GP to recommend acupuncture, as a result of scientific evidence, the NICE guidelines now recommend that acupuncture should be considered as a treatment option for migraine sufferers as well as those who suffer with chronic tension headaches.
So if like me your life is affected by migraine, why not give acupuncture a try
NHS Choices (2016) Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Acupuncture/Pages/What-is-it-used-for.aspx