Western Medicine vs Eastern Medicine: How do I decide?

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/23/2007 7:49 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everybody,
I'm new to this board, and was hoping for some advice.  I'm torn between treatment options.  I've had migraines since I was 8 and was started on preventative medicines in high school. I started with timolol (beta blocker).  When that stopped working I tried topamax for almost 2 years, but I didn't like the side effects and I had to keep increasing the dose in order to get it to work.  I tried zonagren last summer, and after some time had two weeks headache free, then went back to having 4-5 a week. So I decided to try Eastern Medicine.
Since doing acupuncture and Chinese herbs, I have gone off of my antihistamines (which I used to take daily), off my melatonin to sleep, and had several migraine free periods.  But a year later, I'm still having them fairly frequently.
My neurologist is not supportive of the acupunture and herbs, because they are unstudied and unproven.  She wants for me to try more Western medicine, which has proven side effects and risks.  She even had me do an EKG before starting this new batch.  She pointed out that my quality of life with herbs is still not great, and thinks that the meds will help.  However, I still have hope that the acupunture will work in the end, as it did with the allergies, and there have been studies on acupunture and migraines. 
I think it also comes down to promises.  Both doctors are trying to sell me on their beliefs, and the Eastern promises are more enticing to me.  My acupunturist/Eastern medicine doctor is telling me that they can cure me of migraines and that I won't have to always take herbs.  They say that my body is out of balance, but that one day it will be back in balance.  They explain that it is so out of balance and has been so for so long that this is why its taking a long time to see effects, but that I will.  My neurologist says that she has no cure, and no medicine that will work forever, but that she can keep changing meds as they stop working. 
Add to the fact that I'm in my late 20s and would like to have children one day, which I can't on Western meds.  So it seems like a no brainer, that I'm clearly leaning towards Eastern treatment, but I feel conflicted when I talk to the neurologist and she is so dismissive about it.  If only I could find a neurologist who has studied Eastern medicine too.
Thanks so much. I just feel so torn and confused and wish I had someone to talk this out with that is an expert in both fields.  I figure you all are experts in migraines and could share your experiences and suggestions. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1308
   Posted 7/24/2007 9:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Sarah,

Welcome to Healing Well. Sorry to hear that you are in such confusion and suffering too!!

Your Neurologist is correct in saying that there is no cure which is very hard for us all to accept! However it will not stop us looking for one! If the Eastern Medicine and all its promises was the answer then everyone would be flocking to it and they would be making millions more than they are.. The same goes for the western medicine!!!

Maybe you might consider as you go through each season of your life using the best of what each has to offer you at that time. For instance, while you want to start a family a non-drug way of treatment would be a better choice for a while, because sadly all treatments do only work for a while. This would enable you to have a child drug free and as pain free as you are able to get.

Then maybe you may feel it appropriate to find a drug to help you! I wish you all the best with this, hope this helps. Please lets us know how you get on?

take care

Co-Moderator of the Migraine/Headache Forum

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