CLEVELAND --Each week, 17-year-old Andrea Ellison gets a few needles inserted into her skin.She's trying acupuncture to help recover from a concussion that happened more than two years ago.
Andrea accidentally fell and hit her head on cement.She went from being an "A" student to a struggling "C."
"I still have trouble remembering. I still have a little sensitivity to light and sound which comes with it and I get the headaches really bad. When I was studying, I just couldn't understand what I was doing," Andrea says.
Her doctor referred her to Cleveland Clinic Acupuncturist Jamie Starkey.
"I insert needles to address their headaches. If they dealing with dizziness, I insert needles to deal with dizziness, nausea, insomnia, and it can be different for everyone. The needles can be placed on the head, on the hands, around the neck, on the legs, so it can really be all over the body," Starkey says.
Acupuncture to treat symptoms of concussion isn't new to Eastern medicine, but now those in the West are realizing its benefit.
"The Department of Defense utilizes acupuncture to treat the military that are dealing with concussions," Starkey says.
For patients like Andrea, it's made a huge difference.
"My headaches are notas intense and not as frequent. Before I could only study about twenty minutes before I'd get a headache. NowI can study like 45, so it's been a big jump," Andrea says.
Acupuncture for concussion does not work for everyone. It's not covered by all insurance and it usually takes about eight to ten treatments.The cost is $100 for a private session, but the Cleveland Clinic also offers group sessions for $40.