Mr. T. A. Perth:

I've suffered from migraine for a quite while. I have tried painkillers and sitting in a darkened room. I wonder if there is anything that can be done to treat or prevent migraines?

Dr. Xu:

Migraine is a commonly faced medical condition. Symptoms include moderate to severe throbbing pain, usually felt on one side of the head. Pain can last for several hours or even days and may be associated with nausea and vomiting. Often attacks are preceded by a sensation that a migraine is about to begin such as mood changes, loss of appetite, or temporary disturbances in balance, vision and speech. Migraines are generally reoccurring.


So far modern medical science is unclear about the cause of migraine. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that in practice most common types of migraine are as follows: 1. Excessive rise of liver-yang: This type is always caused by emotional imbalance and is usually accompanied by visual disturbances such as flashing lights, or black spots, pain in the ribs or breasts, insomnia, restlessness or propensity to anger. 2. Coagulation of damp and phlegm: In Chinese Medicine, phlegm and damp are very important pathological factors. If excessive phlegm and damp block the channels, the nutrition (known as Qi) is unable to rise up to the head and this causes the headache. This type of migraine has the following clinical characteristics: the pain feels like a tight band around the head, accompanied by a bloated feeling in the stomach, pressure around the chest, nausea or vomiting. This type of migraine is quite common among people who are overweight. 3. Blood stasis blocking the energy channels: This type is often due to head injury or chronic illness leading to poor circulation and blood stasis. The headache may have a stabbing or needling element in a fixed location, and the illness may last for a long time.


We should choose a treatment appropriate to the specific type of migraine. The most effective method of treatment for all of the above according to TCM is acupuncture, concentrating on different points, and the results are very good.


In addition, the person's life-style and diet are important too. To prevent attacks it is important to get enough rest, avoid overly spicy and oily foods, too much nicotine and alcohol, and try to prevent the emotions from becoming overwrought.