For headaches and migraines, painkillers are not always the answer and for some can be out of the question completely due to potential side-effects and/or drug interactions. For some gritting their teeth and powering through the rest of their day seems to be their only option.
If this is you, you are not alone.
Basic acupressure therapy techniques can help you alleviate some of the pain yourself.
A recent single-blind, randomized pilot study compared shiatsu plus amitriptyline, shiatsu alone, and amitriptyline alone for 3 months produced interesting results.
Shiatsu produced better results than amitriptyline alone in reducing the number of analgesics taken. While the shiatsu group reported no adverse effects, 19% of the amitriptyline group reported some adverse effects. You can read the study here:
Villani, V., Prosperini, L., Palombini, F., Orzi, F. &Sette, G. (2017) Single-blind, randomized, pilot study combining shiatsu and amitriptyline in refractory primary headaches. Neurological sciences: official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology. 38, 999-1007.
For your migraine, apply pressure to pressure point LI-4, also known as the Hegu or Union Valley of the hand.
On the back of your left hand, pressure point LI-4 is the soft spot between the base of your index finger and the base of your thumb. Use your other thumb to apply pressure in a circular motion. Be sure to apply firm pressure but not too much that it begins to hurt. Do this for 30 seconds and then repeat on your right hand.
The video below illustrates this beautifully:
Migraine triggers can be varied and can include hormonal changes, drinks (alcoholic and caffeinated), stress, physical and/or environmental factors and so on according to the Mayo Clinic. As such, the course of treatment can also be rather varied.
We recommend seeing your doctor if the pain is severe or unusual. Recording your headache pattern is also very important for consultations with your doctor.
Of course, our health and wellness program will do our utmost to help address your pain.