Acupuncture For Tension Headaches / Migraine
In a study out of Germany, 270 individuals with chronic tension headaches were evaluated. Some got a full course of acupuncture, while others got “sham” acupuncture, in which needles are place at non-acupuncture sites. Both groups got some relief in the perceived pain of their tension headaches, with long lasting benefits, lasting several months after discontinuation of treatment.
About 75 percent of all participants were women. They were, on average, about 43 years of age. Some had severe tension headaches that occurred more than half of the days of the month, while others had fewer headaches. Both groups that got acupuncture did so for 12 weeks, receiving 16 thirty-minute sessions of acupuncture.
The results of the study were that those who received a full course of acupuncture had more than seven fewer headache days per month, while those who received minimal acupuncture had 6.6 fewer headaches per month. Those that got no treatment had more headaches per month at the end of the study. Some patients had ongoing improvement in symptoms, even after the acupuncture treatments had stopped.
A recent study, which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, looked at nearly 500 individuals with migraine headaches. Half the participants received traditional Chinese acupuncture, while the other half had “sham” treatment, in which the needles were placed in areas not associated with acupressure sites. The participants were blinded as to the type of treatment they were given. The study lasted one month long.
When the study was completed, everyone had a reduction in migraine headaches, even those that were given sham therapy. The incidence of migraines went from an average of six migraines per month to an average of three migraines per month. After the treatments were over, the entire study group showed ongoing improvements in the intensity and frequency of migraine headaches, even when receiving no treatments.
All of these conditions have one thing in common in that they all deal with some aspect of pain. From the studies shown above, it appears that acupuncture may be a good therapy to try if you have any of these common medical conditions.