June 22, 2016

By  Steve Hoffman

Let’s be honest, who has time for headaches? You feel one coming on, you reach for that bottle of Advil or Tylenol that is in your desk drawer or your nightstand and glove box. Pop a few and get on with your day. The problem is that the headaches come back, and you find yourself reaching for that bottle more than once a day, at times, 2-3 times a day. The problem with this is that the medicine that you are taking is actually seen as something the body needs to get rid of, something foreign, something that can actually harm the body under the right circumstances. The other problem is that the medicine is not actually doing anything to “fix” the problem that caused the headache in the first place! Fortunately, there are safe, natural solutions that can provide lasting relief and real healing.

Acupuncture is a great alternative to commonly used medications. What is most interesting about acupuncture’s approach to treating headaches is that I could have 10 different patients come in complaining of headaches and I might treat all of them differently but effectively. This is because acupuncture and Chinese medicine have a sophisticated way of diagnosing and treating an individual, not a disease or complaint. Each person is given a thorough intake and evaluation to identify what the underlying cause of the headache is, and once this is determined and treated, the headaches will go away and stay away.

If you read my blog post  Top Ten Benefits of Acupuncture That You Need to Know NOW, you know that a large study showed nearly half of the people who received acupuncture in addition to their usual headache treatments said that their headache days were cut by at least half. Regular treatment along with some of the other remedies listed below can eliminate the need for medications at all.


  • 5HTP:  A precursor to serotonin, this supplement can be helpful in some cases
  • B vitamin complex:  Sufficient vitamin B can be essential in how the body handles stress, a big component of many headaches.
  • Calcium and Magnesium:  Can help to relax the central nervous system
  • Fish Oil:  Help to reduce all kinds of pain and inflammation


  • Sugar, refined carbohydrates, caffeine and alcohol can cause inflammation in the body and should be avoided.
  • Synthetic sweeteners have the same effect and should be avoided for this and a variety of other reasons.
  • Drinking enough water can also help. Avoid drinking too much water at once however. More than four ounces at a time cannot be readily absorbed by the body and only puts stress on the kidneys.

Other Therapies:

  • Chiropractic care can help, especially in conjunction with acupuncture, when the headaches are due to cervical subluxations.
  • Massage is excellent for headaches due to stress and tension.
  • Meditation engages the parasympathetic nervous system and places the body in to a relaxed state that promotes healing.
  • Regular yoga alone has brought permanent relief for many headache sufferers, and when undertaken in conjunction with some of the other remedies listed here, relief can be achieved quickly.
  • 20-30 minutes of regular exercise a day can help when the headaches are due to a sedentary lifestyle.

This may seem like a lot to undertake. Remember though, the headache can be just the tip of the iceberg. It is a signal from the body that something is wrong, something needs attention, something needs to change. By just taking a pill, we are actually masking that signal and giving ourselves permission to continue as we were before. What other things are happening in your body that the headache is the warning light for? Stress on your organs, lack of restorative sleep, improper repair of the thousands of micro injuries that happen on a daily basis, incomplete repair and restoration of your immune system that fights off billions of bacteria and viruses on a daily basis? Sounds kind of important, and with the right guidance, you can find the right combination that will give you safe, natural and lasting relief.

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

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