Acupressure for Migraines —Pain management at your fingertips

Migraine pain can be debilitating and stop you in your tracks.  You may need to take time off from work or school and find it difficult to socialize or care for your family.  It feels like a veil of pain has come between you and the rest of the world —the pain is piercing and throbbing, it may make you feel sick to your stomach and unable to concentrate.  Sometimes, relief only comes after retreating to a dark, quiet space where you can sleep away the pain.  In this final phase of a migraine episode you may experience fatigue, mood changes, and feel washed out.   While medications ranging from over-the-counter pain relievers to prescription drugs are often suggested for management of migraines, many people are opting to use acupuncture for a drug-free pain solution.  

Recent research demonstrates that acupuncture may reduce migraine frequency significantly more than medications and should be considered as a treatment option.  In the United Kingdom acupuncture is used in NHS general practices, pain clinics, and hospitals.  UK clinical practice guidelines state that acupuncture should be recommended to patients who cannot tolerate medication such as Topomax.  

Acupressure for migraine pain control

Acupressure is the manual stimulation of acupuncture points using your fingers to massage, press or jiggle the area.  When you manipulate these points your body releases endorphins to reduce pain, your blood flow increases, and your muscles relax.  For this reason, acupressure is a natural pain management tool that midwives use during labor. 

I teach patients to use these 5 simple acupressure points reduce pain at the onset of a migraine.  While there are many points to choose from I have found these points to be useful no matter what triggers the migraine. 

GB-43: Located on the top of your foot between the 4th and 5th toe, just before the web of your toes.  This point is especially helpful for pain on the side of the head. 

Liv-3: This point is located between your 1st and 2nd toe, just before the web of your toes.  It can help to relieve tension and increase circulation. 

Li-4: Pinch the muscle between your index finger and your thumb.  This is a powerful point for controlling facial pain.  

GB-21: This point is at the high part of your shoulders —it’s often the area that when massaged makes your shoulders drop and you say “ahh.”

GB-20: Located just behind your ear and below the bony bump where your skull meets your neck.  This is a great point for headache with neck pain, dizziness or eye pain.  It can be quite sensitive so go easy.

For more information on drug-free solutions to your migraines please call Integrity Women’s Health to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about our Total Health Integrative Care.  413-535-9930.