If you suffer from regular headaches, you know that you don’t want to rely too heavily on pain medication. From potential addiction to rebound headaches to kidney and liver damage, there are too many negative consequences of pain medication–including over-the-counter medications–to make them your go-to solution for headaches.

The good news is that there are many potential drug-free treatment options that you can use to try to control headache pain, including acupressure.

woman having acupressure

Effectiveness of Acupressure For Headache Relief

Some people make very strong claims about the effectiveness of acupressure for headache control. According to proponents, you can get instant headache relief utilizing the proper pressure points.

The most commonly recommended pressure points are known as the “gates of consciousness,” which are at the base of the skull at the back of the neck. Some of the more comprehensive claims for effectiveness go beyond headaches to say these acupressure points can relieve other conditions, including high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, tinnitus, and, oddly enough, a judgmental attitude.

There are also other acupressure points you can try, such as the meaty part of the hand between the index finger and thumb and your foot where bones from your index toe and big toe meet. There are other pressure points on the head, too, including the temples and your eyebrows, just inside the curve and close to the bridge of the nose.

Does Acupressure Work for Headaches?

This is where claims of effectiveness break down because there is little evidence that supports them.

For example, one study found that acupressure was better than muscle relaxation therapy for headaches. A review of studies showed that acupressure might be effective against many types of pain, including headaches. It seems that there is even evidence for a mechanism by which acupressure might relieve pain, making it a more credible technique.

However, we know that the technique doesn’t work for everyone, so it’s important to figure out who might benefit most from this technique. One study suggests that although acupressure works for just 55% of people with tension headaches. For the right candidates, the effectiveness might reach 80%.

Although none of these studies conclude any relief from acupressure, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.

Effective Headache Relief: Find The Root Cause

Acupressure is likely a harmless thing you can try to help relieve your headaches. If it works, great, but if not, you should seek a more proven drug-free headache treatment.

Bouncing from one headache treatment to the next isn’t going to bring you the relief you need. The best way to find long-term headache relief is to try to determine the root cause of your headaches first. By finding the cause, you are more likely to find an effective solution.

Here are some of the top causes of frequent headaches and options for treating them.

  • Dehydration – Make sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day to stay hydrated and prevent dehydration headaches. It’s important to drink even more if it’s hot out or you’re exerting yourself through exercise.
  • Lack of Sleep – Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. If you’re still feeling sleep-deprived, you might have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea.
  • Skipped Meals – Eat something every few hours to prevent a drop in blood sugar.
  • Stress – If you’re feeling stressed, go for a walk and make life changes to reduce your stress levels.
  • Hormone Changes – Headaches can be a result of hormone changes due to a menstrual cycle or birth control pills. Switching to a different medication can sometimes help reduce headaches.
  • TMJ Disorder – When the jaw joints have an imbalance, it can cause the surrounding muscles to become strained. The muscles span the entire face, neck, shoulders, and back and can result in frequent headaches and migraines. Rebalancing the jaw joints with TMJ treatment can bring relief.
  • Sleep Apnea – Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when there is an obstruction in the airway. The obstruction causes you to stop breathing during sleep. With a lack of oxygen, there is a build-up of carbon dioxide in the lungs which then causes morning headaches. Treating sleep apnea with an oral appliance can bring relief.

Talk to your doctor or dentist to determine what the cause of your headaches is.

woman having acupressure

Acupressure for TMJ Treatment

If the cause of your headaches is TMJ, you might be wondering if acupressure works for TMJ. In short, like headaches, there is no supporting evidence that suggests it’s an effective treatment. However, acupressure might help bring relief to some of your TMJ symptoms including headaches and tinnitus. Acupressure points for tinnitus are located on the ear lobe and the ear gate.

It’s important to note that the only way to effectively get rid of TMJ symptoms is with TMJ treatment—not acupressure.

Relieve Headaches with TMJ and Sleep Apnea Treatment In Denver, Colorado

If you think you might have sleep apnea or TMJ, Dr. Berry can help you get the diagnosis and treatment you need to bring relief from headaches. Best of all, you won’t have to waste any time or money on acupressure that doesn’t work.

TMJ treatment can help many people who have chronic headaches. By addressing the root cause of muscle tension that leads to headaches, we can reduce the frequency and severity of headaches. Some people see their headaches go away completely.

In addition, those suffering from sleep apnea have seen great results with oral appliance therapy. Whether you currently have CPAP and don’t like it or you need to find a sleep apnea treatment, oral appliance therapy might be right for you.

If you would like to learn whether sleep apnea or TMJ treatment can help you, please call (303) 691-0267 for an appointment with a Denver TMJ dentist at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado.