Headache can be seen in some cases of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Painkillers can relieve it to some extent. However, in serious cases, they do not work at all and it is harmful to the kidney function. Acupuncture can be a natural and effective treatment to remit headache in PKD.
How does headache occur in PKD?
There are mainly two causes of headache for patients with PKD. Firstly, about 10% of the patients with PKD have cerebral aneurysm . In most cases, the aneurysm does not show any symptom until it becomes very large or ruptures. Small, unchanging aneurysms generally will not produce symptoms, whereas a larger aneurysm that is steadily growing may press on tissues and nerves, thus resulting in headache. If cerebral aneurysm occurs, it can be life threatening.
Another cause of headache in PKD is high blood pressure. As renal cysts enlarge constantly, they can compress the adjacent kidney tissues, leading to renal ischemia and anoxia, thus activating renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAS) system. Then high blood pressure will occur.
How does acupuncture treat headache?
Acupuncture has thousands years of history in China. It has been used to treat a wide range of disorders. During the treatment, hair-thin needles are inserted through skin to various depths at certain acupuncture points. As the needles are inserted into body along with certain acupoints and do not involve nerves or blood vessels, the patients do not feel pain at all. No chemicals are used in the treatment at all so there is no harm to the body. In treating headache in PKD, acupuncture plays two roles. Firstly, it can smooth energy and blood throughout the body to lower high blood pressure. Secondly, it can stimulate the secretion of Endorphin, a natural painkiller in human body.
However, not all people with PKD are candidates for acupuncture. You should know the contraindications before taking it.