Acupuncture for treating migraine

migraine

Lately, one of our patients had great result of treating migraine by acupuncture. The patient was in a severe migraine attack when she presented in our clinic one month ago, had instant relief afterwards, and has been migraine-free ever since! 

Here are some information about migraine from National Health Services.

A migraine is usually a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head. In some cases, the pain can occur on both sides of head and may affect face or neck.

Other symptoms commonly associated with a migraine include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • increased sensitivity to light and sound – which is why many people with a migraine want to rest in a quiet, dark room

Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around 1 in every 5 women and around 1 in every 15 men. They usually begin in early adulthood.

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Click here to see the advices from Harvard Medical Publications regarding migraine prevention.

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Here are some evidence of the effectiveness of acupuncture for migraine: 

With increasing scientific evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture, the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital has concentrated on the challenge of providing NHS acupuncture on the scale and frequency required to treat the large number of sufferers with chronic painful conditions including headache and migraine, facial pain, back and neck pain and knee osteoarthritis. —— The Migraine Trust in UK

The available evidence suggests that adding acupuncture to symptomatic treatment of attacks reduces the frequency of headaches. Contrary to the previous findings, the updated evidence also suggests that there is an effect over sham, but this effect is small. The available trials also suggest that acupuncture may be at least similarly effective as treatment with prophylactic drugs. Acupuncture can be considered a treatment option for patients willing to undergo this treatment. As for other migraine treatments, long-term studies, more than one year in duration, are lacking. —— Cochrane Review

A sound body of evidence exists supporting the use of acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis. Acupuncture is at least as effective as prophylactic drug therapy for migraine and it is safe, long-lasting and cost-effective. Although there seems to be little difference between the two, Chinese acupuncture points might be marginally more effective than non-Chinese points. —— The role of acupuncture in the treatment of migraine. CMAJ. 2012 Mar 6; 184(4): 391–392.

The literature reports on the successful treatment of migraine with acupuncture. Although none of the studies made to date fulfil the necessary quality criteria, there is no doubt about the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of migraine. —— Value of acupuncture in treatment of migraine. Anaesthesiol Reanim. 1995;20(6):150-2.

Verum acupuncture treatment is more effective than sham acupuncture based on either Chinese or Western nonacupoints in reducing the discomfort of acute migraine. Verum acupuncture is also clearly effective in relieving pain and preventing migraine relapse or aggravation. These findings support the contention that there are specific physiological effects that distinguish genuine acupoints from nonacupoints. —— Acupuncture for treating acute attacks of migraine: a randomized controlled trial. Headache. 2009 Jun;49(6):805-16.

Among patients with migraine without aura, true acupuncture may be associated with long-term reduction in migraine recurrence compared with sham acupuncture or assigned to a waiting list. —— The Long-term Effect of Acupuncture for Migraine ProphylaxisA Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(4):508-515.