Headaches often bring people to my Chicago office. Acupuncture is a great alternative to drugs and often works quickly to relieve the pain. The article below is from acufinder.com. It details two studies which showed how effective acupuncture is for relieving the pain and frequency of headaches.
Studies Show that Acupuncture Stops Headaches
Two separate systematic reviews by Cochrane Researchers show that acupuncture is an effective treatment for prevention of headaches and migraines.
In each study, the researchers tried to establish whether acupuncture could reduce the occurrence of headaches. One study focused on mild to moderate but frequent “tension-type” headaches, whilst the other focused on more severe but less frequent headaches usually termed migraines. Together the two studies included 33 trials, involving a total of 6,736 patients.
Overall, following a course of at least eight weeks, patients treated with acupuncture suffered fewer headaches compared to those who were given only pain killers. In the migraine study, acupuncture was superior to proven prophylactic drug treatments.
In one specific study involving 270 patients, acupuncture cut tension headache rates almost in half. Researchers divided the patients who reported similarly severe tension headaches into three groups for the study. Over the project’s eight-week period, one group received traditional acupuncture, one received only minimal acupuncture (needles inserted at non-acupuncture points, and at only shallow levels), and the third group received no treatment.
Those receiving the traditional acupuncture reported headache rates of nearly half that of those who received no treatments, suffering 7 fewer days of headaches. The minimal acupuncture group suffered 6.6 fewer days, and the non-acupuncture group suffered 1.5 fewer days. When they received acupuncture after the main study period, the “no treatment” group also reported significantly fewer headache days.
The improvements continued for months after the treatments were concluded, rising slightly as time went on.
Sources: British Medical Journal, July 2005 Acupuncture for tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD007587 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007587 Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2009, Issue 1. Art.No.: CD001218 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub2