13 Jul Can Acupuncture help with headaches?
Headaches range from being a mild infrequent annoyance to a chronic problem that impacts an your quality of life.
Through analysis of current research the World Health Organisation has put migraine suffers at 10-15% of the population and tension-type headache sufferers at 36-42%1. That’s a lot of people to be suffering from regular (and debilitating) pain! And not much comfort if you’re one of them.
Although the exact cause of tension-type headache and migraine remains unclear, physicians and researchers have gained an understanding of the possible causative factors.
Tension-type headaches are associated with increased resting muscle tension from physical and psychological factors2.
The causes of migraine are far more complex but it is believed to be due to a series of neurovascular and neurochemical changes in the migraine sufferer 3.
As a person living with chronic headache or migraine, you may feel resigned to ‘just getting by’ and coping with the problem; however there is a growing body of research supporting the use of acupuncture for both of these disorders.
A review of the available evidence by the Cochrane Collaboration (Linde et al 2009) showed statistically and clinically relevant advantages to acupuncture and standard care when compared with standard care only and statistically significant effects when compared to sham (patients who just thought they were receiving acupuncture)4.
Acupuncture has also been shown to produce effects equal to or slightly better than proven prophylactic treatments of migraine5 with an effect that showed no signs of disappearing even nine months after the treatment course was ceased6.
Research has also shown that acupuncture may have a positive impact on various types of nausea7 8 which may also be useful for migraine sufferers.
If you suffer from chronic headache or migraine and are interested in trying acupuncture, call Clarity on 08 8239 0575 today. Find out how Salvatore, our Acupuncturist, can help you get free from the headache of having headaches!
It should be noted that although headaches are often benign sometimes they can be indicative of a more serious pathology. A comprehensive discussion of ‘red flag’ symptoms is out of the scope of this article, however please do not hesitate to consult a GP to rule out any sinister causes of headache/migraine (a list of ‘red flags’ can be found here: http://www.gponline.com/red-flag-symptoms-headaches/neurology/headache-migraine/article/1332134).
5Streng, Andrea, et al. “Effectiveness and tolerability of acupuncture compared with metoprolol in migraine prophylaxis.” Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain 46.10 (2006): 1492-1502.
6Vickers, Andrew J., et al. “Acupuncture for chronic headache in primary care: large, pragmatic, randomised trial.” Bmj 328.7442 (2004): 744.
7Ezzo, J. M., et al. “Acupuncture-point stimulation for chemotherapy-induced nausea or vomiting.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2 (2006).
8Lee, Anna, and L. T. Fan. “Stimulation of the wrist acupuncture point P6 for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2 (2009).