Summary: Researchers report that acupuncture may help relieve symptoms for people who suffer from chronic tension headaches.
Acupuncture may reduce headaches for people with chronic tension headaches, according to a study published in the June 22, 2022 online issue of Neurology.
Tension headaches often involve a feeling of pressure or pulling on both sides of the head of mild to moderate intensity. These headaches are not made worse by physical activity, nor do they include nausea. Tension headaches are considered chronic when they occur for at least 15 days per month.
said study author Ying Li, MD, of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Chengdu, China.
“Our study found that acupuncture reduced the average number of headache days per month for those who experienced these painful and devastating headaches.”
The study involved 218 people diagnosed with chronic tension headaches. They had chronic tension-type headaches for an average of 11 years, and they had 22 days a month with headaches on average. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either real acupuncture or superficial acupuncture.
Real acupuncture treatments included deqi . investigation Sensation, which involves placing a needle and moving it around the body to achieve a feeling of tingling, numbness, or heaviness. The superficial treatments were of less depth into the body to avoid achieving a dull sensation.
Both groups received two or three sessions per week, for a total of 20 sessions, for two months and were followed up for an additional six months.
The main outcome measured in the study was a reduction of at least 50% in the number of headache days. All participants had clinic visits every four weeks. They also used headache diaries to record their symptoms and acute medication use.
At the end of the study, 68% of people who received true acupuncture reported at least a 50% decrease in the monthly number of headache days compared to 50% of people who received surface acupuncture.
The researchers found that the number of monthly headache days gradually decreased after treatment, in both those who received real acupuncture treatments and superficial acupuncture treatments.
For those who received real acupuncture, headache days decreased from 20 days a month at the start of the study to seven days a month by the end of the study.
For those who received superficial acupuncture, headache days decreased from 23 days per month at the start of the study to 12 days per month at the end of the study.
The only side effects from the treatment were mild and did not require treatment.
“While this study showed that acupuncture can reduce headaches, more research is needed to determine the long-term effectiveness of acupuncture and how it compares to other treatment options,” Lee said. “When comparing treatment options, cost-effectiveness is another important factor for evaluation.”
A limitation of the study was that the research was conducted in one hospital, so the results may not apply to the entire population.
Financing: The study was supported by the Department of Science and Technology of Sichuan Province and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
About this research in Neuroscience News
author: Natalie Conrad
Contact: Natalie Conrad – AAN
picture: The image is in the public domain
original search: The results will appear in Neurology