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Migraine-Free after almost 40 Years of Pain – How Acupuncture Relieved my Migraines

July 25, 2019

Lisa R. Calkins from Clayton, North Carolina suffered from chronic migraines until she began acupuncture at Duke Integrative Medicine. The treatment was life-changing for Lisa and she is now migraine-free after almost 40 years of pain. Hear more about Lisa’s story and discover if acupuncture could be a good fit for your health concerns. *This post was updated on 6/14/21

Duke IM Acupuncture Meet Taran Rosenthal

Acupuncture is an ancient therapy that can help you manage all types of pain, recover from surgery, and enhance physical therapy and rehabilitation.


Tell us a little about yourself and why you sought help from Duke Integrative Medicine

My name is Lisa R. Calkins, and I was a migraine sufferer for almost 40 years. I was taking over-the-counter medicine, which caused me to have an ulcer. I was also prescribed Imatrex for when I couldn’t handle the pain. My worst migraine lasted for 24 hours and I vomited 17 times. Some days I wished that someone would just hit my head with a bat to stop the pain. I would even bang my head against door molding out of desperation. My mother also suffered horribly from migraines and would be in bed for days, and had to have the doctor come to our home to administer shots. My daughter also suffers from migraines.

Some days I wished that someone would just hit my head with a bat to stop the pain.

How did you hear about Duke Integrative Medicine?

I lived in New York for my entire life and recently moved to North Carolina. Here, I have an amazing primary care doctor at Duke, Dr. Christine Anderson. I was aware that acupuncture existed and that Botox existed, but I reused to take Botox because it’s not what I wanted to do. We talked about my migraines at length and I asked her about acupuncture. Even without being a holistic doctor, Dr. Anderson agreed that I had nothing to lose by seeing an acupuncturist. She referred me to Morgan Henis*, a licensed acupuncturist at Duke Integrative Medicine. What an amazing recommendation it was!

What did your first appointment at Duke Integrative Medicine look like?

I had my first appointment with Morgan Henis in November 2018, and we sat and talked about my situation. She listened, took notes, made suggestions, and planned a path for us. For the first two months, I saw her every week, and then we tapered off to best fit my needs. She is amazing, kind, patient, and full of knowledge both in life and in her work.

What results did you experience?

The experience has been nothing but rewarding. I have my life back. I have been migraine-free since November 2018. I am still astonished at how it all works with those tiny needles. I’ve read up a little on the process, but it is beyond me. The experience has been nothing but rewarding. I have my life back. I am able to make plans and keep them, with no worries of having a migraine ruin the day. I no longer see Morgan on a regular basis, and now live migraine-free.

Did you have any fears regarding acupuncture?

I am not afraid of needles, but it’s not knowing how it works that scares you. There were a couple of spots that were tender. I’ve had back surgery, broken my neck, and had knee surgery. There are areas Morgan can’t put the needles in because I can’t have anyone near them. We’ve worked around them. At the most, I had 16 needles in at one time during one session, and at one time I’ve only had 8, depending on what Morgan was working on.

What was your overall experience like at Duke Integrative Medicine?

The staff is great. They’re awesome. I haven’t encountered one bit of a hiccup. They have just been so great and very kind.

What would you say to someone else suffering from migraines?

You just don’t know how happy I am without having migraines. It’s just a whole new world for me. I don’t have to worry I will need to cancel plans with friends at the last minute if I get a migraine. My mom had them, I had them, and I passed them on to my daughter. My daughter is going to go see Morgan soon. I’m all about helping the next person. I’m 60 years old, so I have had migraines since I was 21. That’s a long time. I don’t want my daughter or anyone else to have them that long.

There are no words to describe how grateful I am for Morgan, and for Dr. Christine Anderson for being aware that this was available for me. I will be forever thankful!

*Morgan Henis is no longer a provider at Duke Integrative Medicine. However, we have three highly qualified, Licensed Acupuncturists with availability to see new patients.  

About Acupuncture Services at Duke Integrative Medicine

Acupuncture is an ancient therapy that can help you manage all types of pain, recover from surgery, and enhance physical therapy and rehabilitation. Using fine, flexible, sterile needles, acupuncture stimulates points on the body to improve blood and energy circulation. The practice has proven effective in helping people recover from conditions that range from sprains and tissue strains to arthritis and insomnia.

How It Works

Your licensed acupuncturist will conduct an hour-long consultation to determine how acupuncture can help you. During 30-minute sessions, your acupuncturist will customize your treatment plans to meet your health and well-being goals.

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