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The team of multi-disciplinary headache specialists at Advanced Headache Center relies on a holistic approach to treating headaches and migraine pain using your body’s own natural pain-relieving capabilities. Acupuncture performed either as a stand-alone modality or in conjunction with other therapies available in our offices in NYC or NJ has helped hundreds of headache and migraine patients find effective and long-lasting relief.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a traditional form of Chinese medicine used to help alleviate many pain conditions. It can be very effective in the treatment of migraines and headaches. Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system and promoting a feeling of relaxation.

The Acupuncture needle triggers a response from the nervous system. This response from the nervous system leads our brain to release a cascade of natural painkillers. Acupuncture needles signal the brain to direct blood flow to affected areas. With increased blood flow in the head and neck, acupuncture helps relax the muscles there. This direction of blood flow addresses the physical mechanism causing the tension headache pain. In a typical Acupuncture session, sterile, hair-thin needles are inserted into the body by a Certified Acupuncturist for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Due to the thinness of Acupuncture needles, pain is not often experienced during an Acupuncture session.


How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is thought to have multiple physiological effects, such as:

  • Releasing endorphins, natural pain-relieving substances in the body, which reduce pain perception and promote a sense of well-being.
  • Modifying neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine to help better regulate pain, mood, and other bodily functions.
  • Stimulating sensory nerves that send signals to the brain and spinal cord. This can trigger a cascade of responses that affect various physiological processes, including pain perception and immune system activity.
  • Promoting local blood circulation and enhancing the delivery of oxygen, nutrients, and immune cells to the treated area to facilitate tissue healing and help alleviate pain and inflammation.
  • Influencing the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion to help restore balance and promote overall well-being.

It is important to note that acupuncture’s effectiveness and mechanisms of action are still areas of ongoing research and investigation. Different theories may coexist, and the effects of acupuncture can vary depending on the individual and the specific condition being treated.

What Are the Benefits of Acupuncture for Headaches?

Acupuncture takes a holistic approach to pain elevation that considers the interconnectedness of the body and mind. Acupuncture is believed to stimulate the release of endorphins, reducing the intensity and frequency of headaches.

By reducing stress levels through activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and releasing tight muscles in the neck, shoulders, and scalp, acupuncture sessions may help prevent or alleviate headaches triggered by tension and emotional factors. This form of alternative medicine is also thought to enhance blood flow and circulation throughout the body, potentially reducing the occurrence of vascular headaches, such as migraines.

Does Medicare Cover Acupuncture?

Medicare does cover 80% of the approved amount for your acupuncture services but only for the treatment of chronic low back pain. Additionally, the number of acupuncture sessions you can get coverage for and who can perform such treatments are limited. Medicare will pay for up to 12 acupuncture appointments spread out over 90 days and performed by a trained doctor with a state license to practice acupuncture.

Acupuncture Risks for Headaches

Acupuncture itself carries little risk when done by a licensed practitioner. Possible side effects include some soreness, mild bleeding, and bruising where the needles were inserted.

There are also some contraindications for acupuncture that you should be aware of, including:

  • Having bleeding disorders or using blood thinners
  • Having a pacemaker
  • Being pregnant
  • Being diagnosed with a seizure disorder
  • Having infectious skin conditions

Advanced Headache Center is an acknowledged leader in diagnosing and treating headaches and facial pain disorders using acupuncture. Request an appointment to find effective relief or visit one of our facilities in NYC or NJ and learn for yourself why we are considered the best headache doctors specializing in comprehensive headache care using a wide range of integrative treatments.

Read more: What Are the Most Effective Pressure Points To Relieve Your Headache?

Updated on Sep 12, 2023 by Dr. Amr Hosny (Headache Specialist) of Advanced Headache Center

Amr Hosny, MD, MBA, AQH

Dr. Hosny is an Ivy League Trained, UCNS-accredited, board-certified headache specialist who offers the latest preventive and abortive treatments to provide safe and effective head pain relief. As an active member of prominent organizations and professional societies that advance headache science, education, and management, such as the National Headache Foundation, Dr. Hosney specializes in diagnosing and treating a wide range of head pain disorders, including tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches, to name a few.

Dr. Hosny's reputation for enhancing headache care quality through the use of the most effective and technologically advanced treatment options for persistent primary and secondary chronic headaches has been acknowledged by Castle Connolly and Healthgrades, where he has received over 200 positive reviews. Dr. Hosny is also recognized as a distinguished New York City physician and headache specialist by New York Magazine.

More about Dr. Hosny
Advanced Headache Center 41 5th Avenue,
New York, NY 10003
(646) 763-2222