Take Two Needles and Call Me in the Morning

Headaches are a problem faced by a large cross-section of the population.  Studies have shown that roughly 45 million Americans suffer from them per year. There is an average of 20 million females in America that experience chronic headaches and an average of 25 million males. This represents a prevalence of chronic headaches that is roughly 1 out of every six people.

In the United States in the year of 2001 alone, there were 9,876,000 visits to doctors by patients seeking some sort of relief for their headache pains.

The typical conventional approach to headaches includes anti-inflammatory and pain medications as well as serotonin receptor agonists (Tryptans), anti-convulsants and anti-depressants. These medications have numerous side effects, some of which can include: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite, rash, dizziness, headache, and drowsiness. NSAIDs may also cause fluid retention, leading to edema. The most serious side effects are kidney failure, liver failure, ulcers and prolonged bleeding.

An effective alternative to pain medications is acupuncture:

Reference: “Systematic review on randomized controlled clinical trials of acupuncture therapy for neurovascular headache,” Zhao L, Guo Y, et al, Chin J Integr Med, 2011 April 26; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Acupuncture and Moxibustion College, Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tianjin, 300193, China).

Summary: In a review of studies investigating the effects of acupuncture on neurovascular headaches, in which 16 articles involving 1,535 cases were included, results of meta-analysis found that acupuncture therapy was superior to Western medical therapy in the treatment of neurovascular headache.


Dr. Lecovin is a chiropractor, naturopathic physician and acupuncturist. He graduated from Los Angeles College of Chiropractic in 1990, earned a Masters in Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in 1992, and then went on to complete the naturopathic and acupuncture programs at Bastyr University in 1994. He holds additional certifications in exercise from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, National Academy of Sports Medicine and International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Dr. Lecovin specializes in treating musculoskeletal pain and sports injuries by integrating trigger point acupuncture, soft tissue release, joint manipulation, corrective exercise and nutrition. In addition, he combines exercise and nutrition for weight loss, weight gain and performance enhancement. His clinic, located in Bellevue, WA, offers naturopathic medicine, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage and infrared sauna therapy. He can be reached at Evergreen Integrative Medicine at (425) 646-4747.

About the Author

Dr. Geoff LecovinNaturopathic Physician/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist/Corrective Exercise Specialist/Performance Enhancement Specialist/Certified Sports Nutritionist/View all posts by Dr. Geoff Lecovin