Migraine headaches are a common and troublesome condition. For those of you who suffer from them here is some exciting news from the research world: Acupuncture can help with migraine relief!
The other day a friend of mine, who is a nurse, sent me a link to a podcast discussing the use of acupuncture in treating migraine headaches. In the podcast a couple doctors were discussing the results of a research trial conducted on patients with non-aura migraines.
The study was a 24 week clinical trial. 249 participants seeking migraine relief were randomly assigned to one of three groups: acupuncture, fake acupuncture, or a wait list. The participants in the acupuncture and fake acupuncture groups were given treatments 5 times per week for 4 weeks and then followed for a further 20 weeks. During this time the number and severity of migraine headaches were documented. Real acupuncture was performed on specific acupuncture points while fake acupuncture was performed on random points on the body.
At week 16 it was found that participants in the true acupuncture group had significantly less headaches per month than participants in the other two groups. The researchers concluded:
“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.”
Ling, et.al., 2017
Both the researchers and the doctors reviewing the paper agreed that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for migraine relief. They found that acupuncture treatments reduced both the number and severity of non-aura migraine headaches. The effect was felt for months after treatment finished. Acupuncture is a viable treatment for those who found drugs to be ineffective or who wish for relief without the side-effects associated with drug use. It should be noted that acupuncture was not a single visit “miracle cure”. In the study, participants received 5 treatments per week for 4 weeks (20 treatments total). Less acupuncture may not have been as effective.
More about Migraines
I have written about migraine headaches in a previous post: Taking control of your headaches. In that post I discussed what migraine headaches are and referenced a great book with information on taking control of various aspects of your life to lessen the triggers that lead to headaches.
Article: Ling Zhao, PhD; Jiao Chen, PhD; Ying Li, PhD; et al. The Long-term Effect of Acupuncture for Migraine Prophylaxis: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(4):508-515.