Acupuncture for headache and migraine
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Acupuncture and migraine - Recent papers summarised by Adrian White 29 (3): 234 -- Acupuncture in Medicine

Acupuncture and migraine - Recent papers summarised by Adrian White 29 (3): 234 -- Acupuncture in Medicine | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it
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Acupunct Med 2011;29:234-239 doi:10.1136/acupmed-2011-010061

Acupuncture research updateRecent papers summarised by Adrian WhiteAdrian WhiteCorrespondence toAdrian White, Primary Care, Peninsula Medical School, Plymouth, UK; Adrian.white@pms.ac.ukAccepted 27 July 2011Clinical effectivenessAcute migraine

▶Ear acupuncture in the treatment of migraine attacks: a randomized trial on the efficacy of appropriate versus inappropriate acupoints

Auricular acupuncture for acute migraine (n=94).

Methods

The research group have piloted a technique called the Needle Contact Test (NCT): tender points on the ear are identified, for example, with the Sedatelec algometer, then a needle is held in contact with each tender point in turn for 10 s – looking for the one which produces the greatest immediate reduction in pain. That is the point chosen for needle insertion. In patients with acute migraine attacks, they found the majority of the points were located on the antero-internal part of the antitragus (area M in figure 1) on the same side of pain, so that limited area was used in this study.

Ninety-four women were recruited in a Headache Centre in the first 4 h of an attack of migraine without aura. In the test (verum) group, tender points were located in area M and a needle held in contact. Any areas that produced a 25% reduction in pain was needled with a semipermanent ASPSedatelec needle.

In the control group, non-tender areas were located in an inappropriate area (sciatic nerve, S in figure 1) with the algometer, and needled in the same way. Changes in pain intensity were measured using a Visual Analogue Scale for the next 24 h.

Results

As shown in the figure 2, there was a significant and clinically relevant greater reduction in pain over 24 h in the group needled at the tender points.

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Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis - The Cochrane Library - Linde - Wiley Online Library

Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis - The Cochrane Library - Linde - Wiley Online Library | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it

AbstractBackground

Acupuncture is often used for migraine prophylaxis but its effectiveness is still controversial. This review (along with a companion review on 'Acupuncture for tension-type headache') represents an updated version of a Cochrane review originally published in Issue 1, 2001, ofThe Cochrane Library.

Objectives

To investigate whether acupuncture is a) more effective than no prophylactic treatment/routine care only; b) more effective than 'sham' (placebo) acupuncture; and c) as effective as other interventions in reducing headache frequency in patients with migraine.

Search methods

The Cochrane Pain, Palliative & Supportive Care Trials Register, CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field Trials Register were searched to January 2008.

Selection criteria

We included randomized trials with a post-randomization observation period of at least 8 weeks that compared the clinical effects of an acupuncture intervention with a control (no prophylactic treatment or routine care only), a sham acupuncture intervention or another intervention in patients with migraine.

Data collection and analysis

Two reviewers checked eligibility; extracted information on patients, interventions, methods and results; and assessed risk of bias and quality of the acupuncture intervention. Outcomes extracted included response (outcome of primary interest), migraine attacks, migraine days, headache days and analgesic use. Pooled effect size estimates were calculated using a random-effects model.

Main results

Twenty-two trials with 4419 participants (mean 201, median 42, range 27 to 1715) met the inclusion criteria. Six trials (including two large trials with 401 and 1715 patients) compared acupuncture to no prophylactic treatment or routine care only. After 3 to 4 months patients receiving acupuncture had higher response rates and fewer headaches. The only study with long-term follow up saw no evidence that effects dissipated up to 9 months after cessation of treatment. Fourteen trials compared a 'true' acupuncture intervention with a variety of sham interventions. Pooled analyses did not show a statistically significant superiority for true acupuncture for any outcome in any of the time windows, but the results of single trials varied considerably. Four trials compared acupuncture to proven prophylactic drug treatment. Overall in these trials acupuncture was associated with slightly better outcomes and fewer adverse effects than prophylactic drug treatment. Two small low-quality trials comparing acupuncture with relaxation (alone or in combination with massage) could not be interpreted reliably.

Authors' conclusions

In the previous version of this review, evidence in support of acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis was considered promising but insufficient. Now, with 12 additional trials, there is consistent evidence that acupuncture provides additional benefit to treatment of acute migraine attacks only or to routine care. There is no evidence for an effect of 'true' acupuncture over sham interventions, though this is difficult to interpret, as exact point location could be of limited importance. Available studies suggest that acupuncture is at least as effective as, or possibly more effective than, prophylactic drug treatment, and has fewer adverse effects. Acupuncture should be considered a treatment option for patients willing to undergo this treatment.

 Jump to…Plain language summaryAcupuncture for migraine prophylaxis

Migraine patients suffer from recurrent attacks of mostly one-sided, severe headache. Acupuncture is a therapy in which thin needles are inserted into the skin at defined points; it originates from China. Acupuncture is used in many countries for migraine prophylaxis – that is, to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.

We reviewed 22 trials which investigated whether acupuncture is effective in the prophylaxis of migraine. Six trials investigating whether adding acupuncture to basic care (which usually involves only treating acute headaches) found that those patients who received acupuncture had fewer headaches. Fourteen trials compared true acupuncture with inadequate or fake acupuncture interventions in which needles were either inserted at incorrect points or did not penetrate the skin. In these trials both groups had fewer headaches than before treatment, but there was no difference between the effects of the two treatments. In the four trials in which acupuncture was compared to a proven prophylactic drug treatment, patients receiving acupuncture tended to report more improvement and fewer side effects. Collectively, the studies suggest that migraine patients benefit from acupuncture, although the correct placement of needles seems to be less relevant than is usually thought by acupuncturists.

 

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Current practice and future directions in the prevention and acute management of migraine. [Lancet Neurol. 2010] - PubMed - NCBI

Lancet Neurol. 2010 Mar;9(3):285-98. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(10)70005-3.Current practice and future directions in the prevention and acute management of migraine.Goadsby PJ1, Sprenger T.Author information Abstract

Migraine is a common and disabling brain disorder with a strong inherited component. Because patients with migraine have severe and disabling attacks usually of headache with other symptoms of sensory disturbance (eg, light and sound sensitivity), medical treatment is often required. Patients can be managed by use of acute attack therapies (eg, simple analgesics or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or specific agents with vasoconstrictor properties (ie, triptans or ergot derivatives). Future non-vasoconstrictor approaches include calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists. Preventive therapy is probably indicated in about a third of patients with migraine, and a broad range of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical options exist. Medication overuse is an important concern in migraine therapeutics and needs to be identified and managed. In most patients, migraine can be improved with careful attention to the details of therapy, and in those for whom it cannot, neuromodulation approaches, such as occipital nerve stimulation, are currently being actively studied and offer much promise.

 

PubMed comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.

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Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis - The Cochrane Library - Linde - Wiley Online Library

Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis - The Cochrane Library - Linde - Wiley Online Library | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it

Authors' conclusions 

 

Implications for practice

Although the available results suggest that the selection of specific points is not as important as had been thought by providers, acupuncture should be considered as a treatment option for migraine patients needing prophylactic treatment due to frequent or insufficiently controlled migraine attacks, particularly in patients refusing prophylactic drug treatment or experiencing adverse effects from such treatment.

 

Implications for research

There is a clear need for further studies. A priority, in our opinion, should be to investigate whether the high response rates observed in conditions similar to routine care in Germany and the UK are reproducible elsewhere. As migraine is a chronic condition, it would be important for clinicians to know how long improvements associated with acupuncture treatment last and whether a further treatment cycle again leads to improvement. These latter questions might be best investigated in cohort studies. Available studies have been rather unsuccessful at identifying reliable predictors for treatment response (Jena 2008; Weidenhammer 2006); these issues could also be investigated in observational studies. For decision makers it would be important to know who is sufficiently qualified to deliver acupuncture. Studies from Germany did not find an association between factors such as amount of training or professional experience and treatment response (Jena 2008; Weidenhammer 2006), but these studies were limited to physicians. Randomized trials comparing outcomes after treatment by different types of practitioners are desirable, although large sample sizes would be needed. Such studies would also be interesting from a more scientific perspective because it is unclear to what extent the effects of acupuncture are mainly mediated by context variables and generalised (i.e., not specific to traditional points) needling effects, and what contribution correct point location makes. Although future sham-controlled trials might find 'specific' effects over sham interventions, we think that such studies should not have the highest priority unless they also address other important questions. Other aspects that deserve further research include questions such as which types of acupuncture work best, what is the optimal frequency and duration of sessions, and so on. Future comparisons with other non-drug interventions (such as relaxation) should have sufficient sample size. To facilitate future meta-analyses, it would be helpful if some standards for reporting outcome data were established.

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Acupuncture & Herbs Best Pharmaceutical For Headaches

Acupuncture & Herbs Best Pharmaceutical For Headaches | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it
Acupuncture was found more effective than pharmaceutical medications for the treatment of headaches.

 

on 09 July 2014.

 

A new study concludes that acupuncture combined with herbal medicine is more effective than drugs for the treatment of headaches. This confirms similar results found in a prior study wherein acupuncture was found comparable to drugs for the treatment of migraine headaches. The new study finds acupuncture combined with herbal medicine is effective for the treatment of vascular headaches whereas the prior study found acupuncture, as a standalone procedure, effective for the treatment of migraines. The results agree that acupuncture and/or acupuncture combined with herbs produce positive patient outcomes for headaches.

The prior study concluded that acupuncture is “of comparable efficiency to several proven drug therapies for the treatment and prevention of migraine(s).” The meta-analysis examined 25 randomized controlled trials involving a sample size of 3,004 patients. True acupuncture significantly outperformed simulated sham-acupuncture. In addition, true acupuncture was comparable to drug therapy for the treatment and prevention of migraines.

The new acupuncture continuing education research increased the strength of clinical care by adding herbal medicine to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) protocol. By combining acupuncture with the modified herbal medicine formula Huo Xue Qu Feng Tong Luo Tang (Blood Activating Wind Dispelling Meridian Unblocking Decoction), the TCM treatment was significantly more effective than nimodipine. Also referred to by its brand names Nimotop and Nymalize, this drug is a calcium channel blocker that increases blood flow to the brain by widening blood vessels. Originally developed to reduce high blood pressure, this drug is commonly used to prevent complications due to cerebral vasospasm.

Acupuncture combined with modified Huo Xue Qu Feng Tong Luo Tang is more effective than nimodipine for relieving vascular headaches. These headaches include cluster headaches, migraines and toxic headaches. Migraines involve unilateral or bilateral head pain and may combine with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual auras. Toxic headaches occur during fevers. Cluster headaches are focal and recur in severe episodes.

The researchers conducted a randomized acupuncture continuing education investigation of 92 patients with vascular headaches at the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Chongqing Medical University (Sichuan). Group #1 received oral administration of nimodipine at 40 mg per dose, three times per day. Group #2 received acupuncture and a TCM herbal formula based on Huo Xue Qu Feng Tong Luo Tang. A course of treatment for both groups consisted of two weeks and the entire treatment lasted for two courses. After the two courses of treatment, patients in both groups made considerable progress. However, patients in the acupuncture group significantly outperformed those in the drug group. 

- See more at: http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1342-acupuncture-herbs-best-pharmaceutical-for-headaches#sthash.JeT2rdyF.dpuf

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Show migraines the door - with acupuncture

Show migraines the door - with acupuncture | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it
BAcC member Rhiannon Griffiths on traditional acupuncture for migraine relief.
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Acupuncture For Chronic Headache - Primary or Secondary?

Acupuncture For Chronic Headache - Primary or Secondary? | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it
Using medical acupuncture to treat chronic headaches and assessment red flags.

 

Acupuncture For Chronic Headache - Primary or Secondary?Posted by Simon Coghlan on Monday, 07 October 2013

A quick review of the NICE clinical guidelines for chronic headache tells us that when taking a history, be on the lookout for red flags.

If a headache sufferer presents with red flags they may have what is known as a secondary headache which may be a result of pathology, in which case further investigation is required.

If no red flags are present it is likely the headache is primary in nature. This would suggest a functional or physiological cause not related to specific pathology. Migraine and Tension Type Headache are typically primary headaches. When dealing with a primary headache, start treatment using an evidence based approach which may include Medical Acupuncture, unless your patient develops atypical features in which case refer on immediately.

Red flags which may suggest secondary headache include:FeverSudden onset with max intensity within 5 minsNew onset with hard neurological signsCognitive dysfunction, change in personalityHeadache triggered by cough/ valsalvaHeadache triggered by exerciseHeadache changes with postureHard neurological signs are presentSymptoms suggesting giant cell arteritis/ glaucomaRecent trauma sustainedEvidence of impaired consciousnessExtremes of age

Further medical investigation is needed with ANY new headache where the patient has compromised immunity, is under age of 20 or has a history of malignancy known to metastasise to the brain.

So far the vast majority of headaches I have treated with Medical Acupuncture have been primary tension type or migrainous, but I always remind myself to be on the look out for any signs or symptoms suggesting further investigation may be needed. I also tend to inform the patients GP that a headache is being treated and keep in communication as may be required.

 

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BBC NEWS | Health | Acupuncture 'works for headaches'

BBC NEWS | Health | Acupuncture 'works for headaches' | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it

Traditional acupuncture is effective at preventing headaches, a scientific review finds 

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Acupuncture Blog Chicago: Acupuncture in Australia: New Findings

Acupuncture Blog Chicago: Acupuncture in Australia: New Findings | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it
Monday, April 7, 2014Acupuncture in Australia: New Findings 

Australia is in the news because of acupuncture, not only due to a princely visit. Just when Kate Middleton (aka Duchess of Cambridge), Prince William and Prince George are visiting New Zealand and Australia, we have some exciting news from that region of the world. My mother has checked the royals' itinerary and assures me that they are visiting the Maori and are interested in more alternative ideas. Maybe they will be introduced to acupuncture and herbs.

A recent study, conducted in 4 Melbourne hospital emergency departments found that acupuncture is as good as drugs for numerous pains such as low back pain, migraines and sprained ankles.  This finding comes from a new research trial of about 550 patients.  While data from the study is still being analyzed and finalized for publication in a medical journal, one of the study's authors, Dr. Michael Ben-Meir is quoted as saying,

"...acupuncture offered the same level of pain relief as analgesic drugs when patients rated their pain one hour after treatment." Acupuncture was equivalent to what they defined as conventional medicine standard care, which was strong oral analgesia, such as Endone, Panadeine Forte, Voltaren and Valium. Furthermore,'he said, ''I find acupuncture doesn't always help all patients, but occasionally it's the thing that really shifts them and gets them home and gets their symptoms resolved...It has an effect, there's no doubt about that. It's just, when do you use it? How often? Which points? And who delivers it? There's a lot to be thought about and analyzed (thats the way they spell it Down under) before something like this is a standard therapy.''

Study participants treated with acupuncture also tended to leave hospital earlier, suggesting it sped up emergency department care, and they found a very low rate of minor adverse events, such as bleeding at the needling sites." So, if Prince William falls over a kangaroo and sprains his ankle or Kate gets a migraine from the tiara, let's hope they are taken to one of Melbourne's fine hospitals. 

Source: Acupuncture as good as drugs, say researchers

 
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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Development Program: Acupuncture and neuro-endocrine function research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Development Program: Acupuncture and neuro-endocrine function research | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it

Conclusions

 

Acupuncture as a therapeutic intervention is widely practiced in the United States. There have been many studies of its potential usefulness. However, many of these studies provide equivocal results because of design, sample size, and other factors. The issue is further complicated by inherent difficulties in the use of appropriate controls, such as placebo and sham acupuncture groups.

 

However, promising results have emerged, for example, efficacy of acupuncture in adult post-operative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain. There are other situations such as addiction, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma for which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program.

 

Further research is likely to uncover additional areas where acupuncture interventions will be useful.

 

Findings from basic research have begun to elucidate the mechanisms of action of acupuncture, including the release of opioids and other peptides in the central nervous system and the periphery and changes in neuroendocrine function. Although much needs to be accomplished, the emergence of plausible mechanisms for the therapeutic effects of acupuncture is encouraging.

 

The introduction of acupuncture into the choice of treatment modalities readily available to the public is in its early stages. Issues of training, licensure, and reimbursement remain to be clarified. There is sufficient evidence, however, of its potential value to conventional medicine to encourage further studies.

 

There is sufficient evidence of acupuncture's value to expand its use into conventional medicine and to encourage further studies of its physiology and clinical value.


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VIDEO: Acupuncture: More Modern Docs Using Alternative Medicine

Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years, with studies showing it can even help people with hay fever. It's still considered an alternative therapy, but for many women it's the alternative -- to pain -- and more modern doctors are starting to catch on to this age-old treatment.
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Acupuncture and medicines: combination and interactions. Research and reference material

Acupuncture and medicines: combination and interactions.  Research and reference material | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it

OVERVIEW ARTICLES

Allais, O., Bosfo, A., Mana, O., Aireda, G., Ciochetto, D., Terzi, M.G., DeLorenzo, C., Qirico, P.E., Benedetto, C.. Migraine during pregnancy in lactation: treatment of the acute attack and non-pharmacological prophylactic strategies (originally in Italian). Centro Cefalee della Donna, III Clinica Ostetrico-Ginecologica, Dipartimento di Discipline Ginecologiche e Ostetriche, Universita degli Studi di Torino, CSTNF-Centro Studi Terapie Naturali e Fisiche, Torino.

Hua, X.; Interaction between acupuncture and drugs. World J Acup-Moxi 1998. Vol.8[3], p.35-47. 

Ivanov, V. I.; Combined use of acupuncture and drug therapy. [Russian]. Voen.Med Zh. 1982.[2], p.49-51. 

Nezhentsev, M. V., Suslova, G. A., and Aleksandrov, S.; Problem of combined use of drugs and acupuncture. [Review] [RUSSIAN]. Sov Med 1991.[8], p.34-37. 

Sommers, E. and et al; ACUPUNCTURE AND SIDE-EFFECT MANAGEMENT. J Altern Complement Med 2004. Vol.10[1], p.220. Poster presentation at the Tenth Annual Symposium of the Society for Acupuncture Research, November 2003, Cambridge MA.

Zhu, C.; Research on combination of acupuncture with drugs. World J Acup-Moxi 1997. Vol.7[4], p.54. 


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5 Reasons You Should Try Acupuncture

5 Reasons You Should Try Acupuncture | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it

Years ago I watched Kiiko Matsumoto treat a hemiplegic patient who two years prior was knocked on her head by an ocean wave and lost sensation in the left side of her body. As Kiiko buzzed around the patient placing needles and pressing points, the patient reported, teary-eyed, that she could feel both her arms and hands. From that day on, I’ve been a firm believer in acupuncture’s healing potential. Most patients try acupuncture as a last resort when their doctors have declared their discomfort unfixable or psychosomatic, or prescription drugs have caused collateral damage. Some give it a try when their insurance plans cover a certain number of visits. Others have found community acupuncture offers a way to make regular treatments affordable. If you still haven’t tried acupuncture and are curious whether it’s worth your time and money, here are five encouraging reasons to give it a chance: 1. It's personalized healthcare. No two acupuncture patients receive the same treatment for the same disease or discomfort. Acupuncturists treat patients, not diseases. They are trained to take in every detail of you, from the sound of your voice to the quality of your skin to the sparkle in your eyes. They care about your whole story, past and present. They see your body as a network of interdependent parts: muscle, bone, fascia, organs, blood and body fluids, as well as more subtle layers like meridians and qi. They see what is deficient and what is stuck, mentally as well as physically, and make adjustments like a traffic cop, facilitating the body’s own healing ability.  2. It’s nothing to be afraid of. Sure, you may feel the needles and their immediate effects, but you needn’t be anxious. If you're suffering aches and pains on a daily basis, that chronic pain far outweighs any momentary mini pinch of a hair-thin sterile acupuncture needle.  3. It has lovely side effects.
You may go to acupuncture to cure your neck and shoulder pain, and find that the pain diminishes. Meanwhile, yourstress level, sleep quality, digestion, and overall mood improve too. 4. It gets to the root.
Acupuncture treatments are deeply healing because they focus not only on the patient’s current condition, but investigate why their symptoms are manifesting and aim to treat the underlying root cause.  5. It works. Acupuncture has been around since before recorded history. The earliest written record comes from a few hundred years before the common era. If it didn’t work, it certainly wouldn’t have lasted thousands of years and spread through hundreds of Asian medical lineages.   Scientists try to understand how acupuncture works from a biomedical perspective. Some refer to its effects on fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds all our muscles and organs. Some point to acupuncture’s ability to stimulate the limbic system and autonomic nervous system.  Some scientists claim in their studies that acupuncture is sometimes as effective as “sham acupuncture.” While they attempt to fit a versatile and non-linear medicine into a formulaic model with double-blind studies, the clinical experience of everyday practitioners and patients agrees with thousands of years of history — acupuncture works! For an official list by the World Health Organization on what acupuncture treats, click here.


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Acupuncture and migraine

Acupuncture and migraine | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it
Migraine sufferers Tina and Chris tell us how acupuncture helped alleviate migraine, whilst David Millard MBAcC offers some insight into the treatment
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Clinical trial: Acupuncture for migraine - brain functional activity and mechanism

Clinical trial: Acupuncture for migraine - brain functional activity and mechanism | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it

The central analgesic mechanism ofacupuncture for migraine remains poorly understood.

Acupuncture has been shown to become a recommended treatment for migraine sufferers.

However, a single acupuncture stimulus cannot be indicative of the cumulative effects of acupuncture treatment.

Prof. Fanrong Liang and colleagues from Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine recruited migraine sufferers receiving 1 month of acupuncture treatment and explored the central analgesic mechanism of the cumulative effects of acupuncture for migraine.

The aim of their study was to examine changes in brain functional activity and central networks in subjects with migraine undergoing acupuncture at Shaoyang uncommon acupoints.

This trial has been registered on http://www.clinicaltrial.gov/ and provides a further explanation of the central analgesic mechanism by which acupuncture at Shaoyang acupoints treats migraine.

These findings are published in Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 28, 2013)

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Electroacupuncture at Acupoints Reverses Plasma Glutamate, Lipid, and LDL/VLDL in an Acute Migraine Rat Model: A (1) H NMR-Based Metabolomic Study. [Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014] - PubM...

Electroacupuncture at Acupoints Reverses Plasma Glutamate, Lipid, and LDL/VLDL in an Acute Migraine Rat Model: A (1) H NMR-Based Metabolomic Study. [Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014] - PubM... | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:659268. doi: 10.1155/2014/659268. Epub 2014 Jan 28.

 

Electroacupuncture at Acupoints Reverses Plasma Glutamate, Lipid, and LDL/VLDL in an Acute Migraine Rat Model: A (1) H NMR-Based Metabolomic Study.

 

Gao Z1, Liu X2, Yu S2, Zhang Q3, Chen Q4, Wu Q2, Liu J3, Sun B3, Fang L4, Lin J5, Zhu BM6, Yan X3, Liang F2.Author information 

 

Abstract

 

 

Background. The objective of this study was to identify potential biomarkers of electroacupuncture (EA) on relieving acute migraine through metabolomic study. Methods. EA treatments were performed on both acupoints and nonacupoints on the nitroglycerin (NTG)-induced migraine rat model. NMR experiments and multivariate analysis were used for metabolomic analysis. Results. The number of head-scratching, the main ethology index of migraine rat model, was significantly increased (P < 0.01) after NTG injection.

 

The plasma metabolic profile of model group was distinct from that of the control group. Glutamate was significantly increased (P < 0.01), whereas lipids were significantly decreased (P < 0.01) in model rats. After EA at acupoints, the metabolic profile of model rats was normalized, with decreased glutamate (P < 0.05) and increased lipids (P < 0.01). In contrast, EA at nonacupoints did not restore the metabolic profile, but with six metabolites significantly different from acupoints group. Interestingly, the number of head-scratching and glutamate level were significantly decreased (P < 0.05) after receiving EA at both acupoints and nonacupoints.

 

Conclusions. EA at acupoints may relieve acute migraine by restoring the plasma metabolic profile and plasma glutamate, while EA at nonacupoints may modestly relieve acute migraine by decreasing plasma glutamate.

 

PMID: 24592282 [PubMed] Free full text

 

PubMed comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.


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Acupuncture as effective as drugs in treating pain, trial shows

Acupuncture as effective as drugs in treating pain, trial shows | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it
An acupuncture trial in four Melbourne emergency departments has found it is just as good as drugs in relieving lower-back pain and that from sprained ankles and migraines.

 

An acupuncture trial in four Melbourne emergency departments has found it is just as good as drugs in relieving lower-back pain and that from sprained ankles and migraines.

The finding could open the door to Australian hospitals offering the low-cost Chinese therapy, which is used by more than 1 billion people worldwide for pain relief.

Emergency physicians at The Alfred, Northern, Cabrini and Epworth hospitals partnered with RMIT's school of health sciences to see if acupuncture could relieve acute pain in hundreds of patients presenting to hospital with either lower-back pain, sprained ankles or migraines.

While data from the study is still being analysed and finalised for publication in a medical journal, one of the researchers, Dr Michael Ben-Meir, said it showed acupuncture offered the same level of pain relief as analgesic drugs when patients rated their pain one hour after treatment.

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''Acupuncture was equivalent to what we defined as conventional medicine standard care, which was strong oral analgesia, such as Endone, Panadeine Forte, Voltaren and Valium,'' he said.

Dr Ben-Meir, director of Cabrini Hospital's emergency department, said the randomised controlled study of about 550 patients also found that the combination of acupuncture with standard pharmaceutical care delivered equivalent pain relief to acupuncture alone or standard care alone.

The emergency physician who studied acupuncture nine years ago and has since used it on patients at Epworth and Cabrini said the results aligned with his own experience of its efficacy for acute pain.

He said it was particularly good for people who did not want drugs, such as pregnant women, and for those whose pain was not relieved by Western medicine.

''I find acupuncture doesn't always help all patients, but occasionally it's the thing that really shifts them and gets them home and gets their symptoms resolved,'' he said. ''It has an effect, there's no doubt about that. It's just, when do you use it? How often? Which points? And who delivers it? There's a lot to be thought about and analysed before something like this is a standard therapy.''

The director of emergency medicine at The Alfred hospital, De Villiers Smit, said although he was initially sceptical about acupuncture, the study convinced him it was safe and effective in improving pain management.

He said study participants treated with acupuncture also tended to leave hospital earlier, suggesting it sped up emergency department care.

Another chief investigator of the project - the head of the school of health sciences at RMIT and a registered Chinese medicine practitioner, Professor Charlie Xue - said the study showed a very low rate of minor adverse events, such as bleeding at the needling sites.

While about 10 per cent of Australians use acupuncture in community-based clinics, Professor Xue said until now very little research had been done on its use for acute pain in hospital settings.

Dr Ben-Meir said although the exact mechanisms of acupuncture remained unclear, this was also the case for some Western medicines.

He said rising health costs should encourage more scientific assessment of low-risk complementary medicines because new drugs were expensive to develop and could cause side effects.



Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/acupuncture-as-effective-as-drugs-in-treating-pain-trial-shows-20140329-35qec.html#ixzz35BUfrjxI

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Gwen Stefani recommends acupuncture to pals for migraines

Gwen Stefani recommends acupuncture to pals for migraines | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it
Gwen Stefani has been recommending acupuncture to her pals after it helped her with severe migraines during her pregnancy.
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Migraine Vanishes With Acupuncture and Tuina

Migraine Vanishes With Acupuncture and Tuina | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it
Migraine Vanishes With Acupuncture and Tuina

on 19 June 2014.

 

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Acupuncture is more effective than medication for controlling migraines. Researchers compared a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) combination of acupuncture and tuina massage with the oral medication flunarizine hydrochloride. The TCM treatment was significantly more effective than the drug treatment for reducing pain frequency, intensity and duration due to migraines. The acupuncture combined with tuina group had a total effective rate of 93.8% whereas the medication group only achieved a 63% total effective rate. Additionally, the acupuncture with tuina group had significantly fewer relapses. As a result of the findings the researchers conclude, “Combining electroacupuncture and local tuina can obtain better effect and lower relapse rate than oral Flunarizine Hydrochloride capsules in migraine patients.”

Inclusion criteria for the research required patients to have headaches that lasted between 4-72 hours on one side of the head, unilaterally. Pain intensity levels needed to be moderate to severe with a pulsing sensation. The headaches must be aggravated by activities of daily living such as walking, climbing stairs, etc… or must at the very least cause avoidance of activities of daily living. In addition, the migraines need to include at least one of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, photophobia, phonophobia. Medical examinations must exclude organic causation including hypertension, hypotension, ENT disorders and internal organ disorders such as heart, brain and kidney disease. A total of 94 patients were admitted to the study in the outpatient department of the hospital and were randomly divided into the TCM group and the pharmaceutical medication group. 

The acupuncture group received electroacupuncture at ashi points, Taiyang, ST8 (Touwei), GB13 (Benshen), Xuanlu (GB5) and GB41 (Zulinqi) on the side with focal pain. GB20 (Fengchi), GV20 (Baihui) and GV24 (Shenting) were needled bilaterally. Secondary acupuncture points were added for specific disorders. LR3 (Taichong), KI3 (Taixi) and GB43 (Xiaxi) were added for headaches due to liver yang rising. CV12 (Fenglong) and SP9 (Yinlingquan) were added for cases of headache due to phlegm-turbidity. PC6 (Neiguan), SP10 (Xuehai) and BL17 (Geshu) were added for cases of headache due to blood stasis. The treatment principle was to dredge the channels, remove pathogenic factors and stop pain.

The acupuncture treatments were applied in the seated patient position. Needles were 0.30 mm in diameter and 25-50 mm in length. Deqi sensation was evoked at the acupoints followed by 1 minute of sedating technique by either twirling or rotating. Electroacupuncture employed a sparse-dense wave and the frequency ranged between 2-100 Hz. Total needle retention time was 20 minutes and the acupuncture was applied once per day. One course of treatment consisted of 10 days. Two courses of treatment were applied with a 3 day break between courses of care. 

Tuina massage was applied with several techniques. One thumb tui pushing, na grasping, an pressing, rou kneading, saosan sweeping, fen parting and ca rubbing were all used as part of the manual therapy. Regions receiving tuina massage were at Yintang, Taiyang, GV20, GB20, ST8, TB20 (Jiaosun) and BL2 (Cuanzhu). Overall, the head received tuina care including the forehead and lateral sides at the gallbladder foot-shaoyang channel. Treatment was applied with the patient in the seated position.

The treatment and results were processed at the Community Health Service Center at the Acupuncture and Tuina Outpatient Department of the hospital. Acupuncture with tuina consistently outperformed the medication group. As a result of the findings the researchers concluded that acupuncture combined with tuina is effective for the treatment of migraines and is more effective than flunarizine hydrochloride.


Reference:
Guo, Qing, Yu Hua, Hai-qin Wang, Ying Li, and Quan Ji. "Therapeutic effect observation on combining electroacupuncture and tuina for migraine." Journal of Acupuncture and Tuina Science 12, no. 3 (2014): 174-179.

 

- See more at: http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1332-migraine-vanishes-with-acupuncture-and-tuina#sthash.NrhPQRwb.dpuf

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Using acupuncture, woman no longer has migraines or takes OTC meds

Using acupuncture, woman no longer has migraines or takes OTC meds | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it

(NaturalNews) Throughout her teenage years, Tricia had painful migraines and often sought relief from over-the-counter (OTC) medications and physical therapy. However, her debilitating headaches persisted. That's when she turned to acupuncture, which she says has "been a lifesaver." As a result, she's stopped taking OTC medications completely and doesn't even get so much as a dull headache.

Tricia used to get severe migraines an average of two times per month. After about 10 acupuncture treatments, she says she no longer noticed them. She also answers what's often on the minds of those considering acupuncture: does it hurt? No, she says. While some areas are sensitive, she says it feels "really good" and is a relief.

Acupuncture stems from an ancient Chinese healing practice that involves penetrating certain points of an individual's skin in an effort to stimulate and therefore relieve a range of symptoms.

Studies prove the benefits of acupuncture for migraine relief

Studies in medical journals have shown the benefits of acupuncture for migraine sufferers, saying that relief is indeed possible through this treatment. In one study, two groups were studied - one that received acupuncture treatments in conjunction with some standard care and one that received only standard medical care. Individuals in the acupuncture group made 25% fewer doctor visits and used 15% less medication, in addition to several other benefits. As such, many researchers tout the increased quality of life that acupuncture brings to migraine sufferers.

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, migraine is one of the top 20 world's most disabling medical illnesses with pain so debilitating that family, social and professional interactions are severely affected. About 1 in 4 U.S. households have a member suffering from migraine, where they experience intense throbbing pain in their head, typically accompanied by a host of other symptoms including light sensitivity, dizziness and nausea.

It is estimated that over 3 million Americans use acupuncture.


Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/042980_acupuncture_migraines_over_the_counter_medication.html#ixzz35BBpuCu5

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Acupuncture Shows Possible Effect for Tension Headaches | NCCAM

Acupuncture Shows Possible Effect for Tension Headaches | NCCAM | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it
Acupuncture could be an option for patients suffering from frequent tension headaches.

 

Acupuncture Shows Possible Effect for Tension Headaches

Headaches affect millions of Americans. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about 45 million Americans suffer from chronic headaches. Tension-type headaches (or tension headaches)—characterized by pain or discomfort from tense or constricted muscles in the head, neck, or scalp—are one of the most common forms of headaches. In most patients, tension headaches occur infrequently and can be treated with over-the-counter pain medicine. However, some people experience these headaches several days per month, or even daily, and may benefit from other treatments.

A recent review published by the Cochrane Collaboration looked at the literature on acupuncture for tension headaches and analyzed the findings from 11 randomized trials with 2,317 participants that compared acupuncture with a control or with sham acupuncture.1

The results of the literature review found that of the 11 studies:

Two showed that patients who received acupuncture in addition to standard care had fewer headaches.Five found slightly better effects in patients who received true acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture.Three of the four trials that compared acupuncture with physiotherapy, massage, or relaxation had methodological shortcomings. Their findings were difficult to interpret, but acupuncture appeared to have slightly better results than these other therapies.

Overall, the researchers concluded that acupuncture could be a valuable option for patients suffering from frequent tension headaches.

This systematic review selected randomized trials with a post-randomization observation period of at least 8 weeks that compared the clinical effects of an acupuncture intervention with a control (treatment of acute headaches only or routine care), a sham acupuncture intervention, or another intervention in patients with episodic or chronic tension-type headache. The 11 randomized controlled trials included in this review are Ahonen 1984; Carlsson 1990; Tavola 1992; White 1996; Wylie 1997; White 2000; Karst 2001; Melchart 2005; Söderberg 2006; Endres 2007; and Jena 2008.ReferencesLinde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, et al. Acupuncture for tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009; (1):CD007587.Additional ResourcesAcupuncture Information Publication Date: January 21, 2009

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Acupuncture for tension-type headache - The Cochrane Library - Linde - Wiley Online Library

Acupuncture for tension-type headache - The Cochrane Library - Linde - Wiley Online Library | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it

AbstractBackground

Acupuncture is often used for tension-type headache prophylaxis but its effectiveness is still controversial. This review (along with a companion review on 'Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis') represents an updated version of a Cochrane review originally published in Issue 1, 2001, of The Cochrane Library.

Objectives

To investigate whether acupuncture is a) more effective than no prophylactic treatment/routine care only; b) more effective than 'sham' (placebo) acupuncture; and c) as effective as other interventions in reducing headache frequency in patients with episodic or chronic tension-type headache.

Search methods

The Cochrane Pain, Palliative & Supportive Care Trials Register, CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field Trials Register were searched to January 2008.

Selection criteria

We included randomized trials with a post-randomization observation period of at least 8 weeks that compared the clinical effects of an acupuncture intervention with a control (treatment of acute headaches only or routine care), a sham acupuncture intervention or another intervention in patients with episodic or chronic tension-type headache.

Data collection and analysis

Two reviewers checked eligibility; extracted information on patients, interventions, methods and results; and assessed risk of bias and quality of the acupuncture intervention. Outcomes extracted included response (at least 50% reduction of headache frequency; outcome of primary interest), headache days, pain intensity and analgesic use.

Main results

Eleven trials with 2317 participants (median 62, range 10 to 1265) met the inclusion criteria. Two large trials compared acupuncture to treatment of acute headaches or routine care only. Both found statistically significant and clinically relevant short-term (up to 3 months) benefits of acupuncture over control for response, number of headache days and pain intensity. Long-term effects (beyond 3 months) were not investigated. Six trials compared acupuncture with a sham acupuncture intervention, and five of the six provided data for meta-analyses. Small but statistically significant benefits of acupuncture over sham were found for response as well as for several other outcomes. Three of the four trials comparing acupuncture with physiotherapy, massage or relaxation had important methodological or reporting shortcomings. Their findings are difficult to interpret, but collectively suggest slightly better results for some outcomes in the control groups.

Authors' conclusions

In the previous version of this review, evidence in support of acupuncture for tension-type headache was considered insufficient. Now, with six additional trials, the authors conclude that acupuncture could be a valuable non-pharmacological tool in patients with frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches.

 Jump to…Plain language summaryAcupuncture for tension-type headache

Patients with tension-type headache suffer from episodes of pain which is typically bilateral (affects both sides of the head), pressing or tightening in quality, mild to moderate in intensity, and which does not worsen with routine physical activity. In most patients tension-type headache occurs infrequently and there is no need for further treatment beyond over-the-counter pain killers. In some patients, however, tension-type headache occurs on several days per month or even daily. Acupuncture is a therapy in which thin needles are inserted into the skin at defined points; it originates from China. Acupuncture is used in many countries for tension-type headache prophylaxis - that is, to reduce the frequency and intensity of tension-type headaches.

We reviewed 11 trials which investigated whether acupuncture is effective in the prophylaxis of tension-type headache. Two large trials investigating whether adding acupuncture to basic care (which usually involves only treating unbearable pain with pain killers) found that those patients who received acupuncture had fewer headaches. Forty-seven percent of patients receiving acupuncture reported a decrease in the number of headache days by at least 50%, compared to 16% of patients in the control groups. Six trials compared true acupuncture with inadequate or 'fake' acupuncture interventions in which needles were either inserted at incorrect points or did not penetrate the skin. Overall, these trials found slightly better effects in the patients receiving the true acupuncture intervention. Fifty percent of patients receiving true acupuncture reported a decrease of the number of headache days by at least 50%, compared to 41% of patients in the groups receiving inadequate or 'fake' acupuncture. Three of the four trials in which acupuncture was compared to physiotherapy, massage or relaxation had important methodological shortcomings. Their findings are difficult to interpret, but collectively suggest slightly better results for some outcomes with the latter therapies. In conclusion, the available evidence suggests that acupuncture could be a valuable option for patients suffering from frequent tension-type headache.

 

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Acupuncture in migraine research paper

Acupuncture in migraine research paper | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it

Allais, G., Bosio, A., Mana, O., Airoda, G., Ciochetto, D., Terzi, M.G., De Lorenzo, C., Quirico, P.E., Bandetto, C.; Migraine during pregnancy and lactation: treatment of the acute attack and non-pharmacoogical prophylactic strategies. Centro Cefalee della Donna, III Clinica Ostertrico-Ginecologica, (4 Suppl 1), August, 2003, pp 27-38. 

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Acupuncture, pain and analgesia (painkillers) : Study resources and references

Acupuncture, pain and analgesia (painkillers) : Study resources and references | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it

Chapman, C. R., Colpitts, Y. M., and Benedetti, C.; Event-related potential correlates of analgesia; comparison of fentanyl, acupuncture, and nitrous oxide. Pain 1982. Vol.14, p.327-337. This study was undertaken to determine whether different analgesic treatments result in a common change in the event-related potentials (ERP) elicited during painful dental stimulation. The effects of electrical acupuncture delivered at 2 Hz to LI-4, the opiate fentanyl 0.1 mg i.v., and the inhalation analgesia mixture of 33% nitrous oxide in oxygen were examined in volunteers undergoing painful tooth pulp stimulation. ERPs were recorded at vertex and subjects provided reports of pain intensity. Discriminant function analysis was used to determine which subset of the pain report and ERP variables could best discriminate baseline from treatment conditions without regard to specificity of treatment. Together with pain report, amplitude of the ERP positive deflection at 250 msec was a significant indicator of analgesia across the 3 treatments. Other changes specific to the individual treatments were also observed. Since the 250 msec amplitude measure was not redundant statistically with pain report, the ERP data provided significant new information about analgesia even though pain report was a very sensitive measure. Pain report alone could account for 48% of the variance across treatments while ERP measures alone accounted for 34%.

Gejervall, A. L., Stener-Victorin, E., Moller, A., Janson, P. O., Werner, C., and Bergh, C.; Electro-acupuncture versus conventional analgesia: a comparison of pain levels during oocyte aspiration and patients' experiences of well-being after surgery. Hum Reprod 12-17-2004.

Martelete, M.; Comparative study of the analgesic effect of TNS, electroacupuncture, and meperidine in the treatment of post operative pain. Acupunct Electrother Res 1985. Vol.10, p.183-193. Seventy two patients, from 15 to 60 years old, in good physical status and submitted to surgery in the upper or lower abdominal, rectal or lumbar areas were studied. In the immediate postoperative period, they were randomly divided in three groups and each group was submitted to one of the following treatments: intravenous meperidine, transcutaneous nerve stimulation (TNS) or electroacupuncture (EA). Each treatment was divided in two phases with one hour interval between them. Each phase was constituted of 30 minutes of stimulation in case of TNS and EA and fractionated administration of meperidine in all groups. The pain level was evaluated through a visual analogue scale before and after each phase of treatment. The results were compared among groups and, on each group, between the phases of treatment. In all surgery types, the postoperative pain relief presented by TNS and EA groups of patients was greater than that of meperidine treated group. But, the analgesia presented by the EA treated group of patients lasted longer and increased with the repetition of treatment. The differences of behaviour of TNS and EA analgesia suggest that their neurochemical mechanisms may not be the same. Clinical trial. 

Wang, H.; A study in the effectiveness of acupuncture analgesia for colonoscopic examination compared with conventional premedication. Am J Acupunct 1992. Vol.20[3], p.217-221. 

Wang, H. H., Chang, Y. H., Liu, D. M., and Ho, Y. J.; A clinical study on physiological response in electroacupuncture analgesia and meperidine analgesia for colonoscopy. Am J Chin Med 1997. Vol.25[1], p.13-20. Fifty-nine patients underwent consecutive colonoscopic examination with premedication of electroacupuncture analgesia (EA) were compared with conventional meperidine analgesia (MA) in pain relief and changes of neurotransmitters in serum. The results showed that analgesic efficacy of both groups were the same but with less side effects in the EA group (P < 0.01) especially in regard to dizziness. Serum concentration of beta-endorphin in both groups has a similar curve change at 4 different phases during colonoscopy. Serum concentration of epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine and cortisol showed no significant difference between these two groups. The analgesic effect of EA and MA during colonoscopic examination may be closely related to beta-endorphin production in serum Department of Internal Medicine, China Medical College Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan Reviewed in FACT, 1997, Vol. 2(3) p. 106-107. 

White, A. R.; Electroacupuncture May be Useful Analgesia for Colonoscopy. FACT 1997. Vol.2[3], p.106-107. Original article ' A clinical study on physiological response in electroacupuncture analgesia and meperidine analgesia for colonoscopy.' (Wang,H.H.; Chang, Y.H.; Liu,D.M.; et al), Amercan Journal of Chinese Medicine, 1997, Vol 25, P. 13-20.


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Bedford Acupuncture's curator insight, February 24, 2014 4:52 PM

SC: "Pain and analgesia - a useful bibliography and summary of resources and studies comparing acupuncture and painkillers for painful conditions."

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Acupuncture Blog Chicago: Headaches & Migraines Dramatically Reduced by Acupuncture

Acupuncture Blog Chicago: Headaches & Migraines Dramatically Reduced by Acupuncture | Acupuncture for headache and migraine | Scoop.it

Headaches are an increasingly popular reason to seek acupuncture treatment - with good reason. Acupuncture is very effective at treating all types of headaches. The article below is from acufinder.com and provides a good explanation of how Chinese Medicine can help along with some impressive research to back it up.
 
Are you plagued by chronic headaches?

More than 45 million Americans (one in six) suffer from chronic headaches, 20 million of whom are women. Scientific research shows that acupuncture can be more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches. 

The pain that headache and migraine sufferers endure can impact every aspect of their lives.  A widely accepted form of treatment for headaches, acupuncture can offer powerful relief without the side effects that prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause.

Headaches and migraines, as well as their underlying causes have been treated successfully with acupuncture and Oriental medicine for thousands of years. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can be used alone in the management and treatment of headaches, or as part of a comprehensive treatment program.

Oriental Medicine does not recognize migraines and chronic headaches as one particular syndrome. Instead, it aims to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of of techniques such as acupuncture, tui-na massage, and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, your diagnosis and treatment will depend on a number of variables including:

 *Is the headache behind your eyes and temples, or is it located more on the top of your head?
 *When do your headaches occur (i.e. night, morning, after eating)?
 *Do you find that a cold compress or a darkened room can alleviate some of the pain?
 *Is the pain dull and throbbing, or sharp and piercing?

Your answers to these questions will help your practitioner create a treatment plan specifically for you. The basic foundation for Oriental medicine is that there is a life energy flowing through the body which is termed Qi (pronounced chee). This energy flows through the body on channels known as meridians that connect all of our major organs.  According to Oriental medical theory, illness or pain arises when the cyclical flow of Qi in the meridians becomes unbalanced. Acupuncture stimulates specific points located on or near the surface of the skin to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions that cause aches and pains or illness.

The length, number and frequency of treatments will vary. Typical treatments last from five to 30 minutes, with the patient being treated one or two times a week. Some headaches, migraines and related symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.

Headaches Dramatically Reduced by Acupuncture

Since the early seventies, studies around the globe have suggested that acupuncture is an effective treatment for migraines and headaches.  Researchers at Duke University Medical Center analyzed the results of more than 30 studies on acupuncture as a pain reliever for a variety of ailments, including chronic headaches. They found that acupuncture decreases pain with fewer side effects and can be less expensive than medication.  Researchers found that using acupuncture as an alternative for pain relief also reduced the need for post-operative pain medications.

In a study published in the November 1999 issue of Cephalalgia, scientists evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of migraines and recurrent headaches by systematically reviewing 22 randomized controlled trials. A total of 1,042 patients were examined. It was found that headache and migraine sufferers experienced significantly more relief from acupuncture than patients who were administered "sham" acupuncture. 

A clinical observation, published in a 2002 edition of the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, studied 50 patients presenting with various types of headaches who were treated with scalp acupuncture. The results of this study showed that 98 percent of patients treated with scalp acupuncture experienced no headaches or only occasional, mild headaches in the six months following care.

In a case study, published in the June 2003 Issue of Medical Acupuncture, doctors found that acupuncture resulted in the resolution or reduction in the frequency and severity of cluster headaches, and a decrease or discontinuation of pain medications. It was concluded that acupuncture can be used to provide sustained relief from cluster headaches and to stimulate the body's natural production of adrenal cortisol to aid in discontinuing corticosteroids.

According to the July 2005 issue of the British Medical Journal, a randomized controlled trial in Germany found that acupuncture cut tension headache rates almost in half.  Researchers divided 270 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, and the third group received neither 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.  The improvements continued for months after the treatments were concluded, rising slightly as time went on.

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