Acupuncture May Help Reduce the Number of Chronic Tension Headaches

According to the results of a study, acupuncture could help reduce the number of headaches every month in individuals suffering from chronic tension headaches.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000200670

Tension-type headaches are generally of mild to moderate intensity involving a tightening or pressing sensation on both temples. Physical activity doesn't aggravate these types of headaches and no nausea is experienced. Tension-type headaches are regarded as chronic when they happen a minimum of 15 days a month.

These headaches are one of the most commonly experienced headache types. Individuals experiencing many of these headaches every month could be in search of alternate options for medication. The study discovered that the average number of days each month with headache is reduced with acupuncture in individuals experiencing these disruptive and painful headache episodes.

The study consisted of 218 participants who had been identified as having chronic tension-type headaches. The individuals had experienced chronic tension-type headaches for 11 years on average and had an average of 22 headache days every month. They were randomly allocated to get either true or superficial acupuncture. True acupuncture treatment necessitates placing and moving the acupuncture needle in the body to achieve a tingling, numb, or heavy feeling called a deqi sensation. The superficial treatments required less depth in the body to prevent experiencing this deqi sensation. Both of the groups were given 2 or 3 weekly sessions, for 20 sessions in total, for 2 months and were observed for a further 6 months.

The primary result measured was a decrease of a minimum of 50% in the number of headache days. All individuals visited the clinic every 4 weeks. They also made use of headache diaries for recording their symptoms and acute medication usage.

At the study's conclusion, 68% of the individuals having true acupuncture announced a minimum of a 50% reduction in the number of days with headaches every month in comparison to 50% of the individuals who had been given superficial acupuncture.

There was a gradual reduction in the number of days with a headache every month following treatment, in both individuals who had been given true acupuncture treatment and those given superficial acupuncture treatment. For individuals who received true acupuncture, days with headaches were reduced from 20 days each month at the start of the study to 7 days a month by the study's conclusion.  For individuals who had been given superficial acupuncture, monthly headache days were reduced from 23 days at the start of the study to 12 days after the study ended.

The acupuncture treatment side effects were mild and didn't need further treatment.

Although this study demonstrated that headaches can be reduced with acupuncture, more studies are required to establish acupuncture's longer-term efficacy and its comparison to other treatment options. Cost-effectiveness is another significant factor to consider when comparing treatment options.

Types Of Headaches Infographic

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About the author

Adrian has been writing on health and fitness for 18 years. He is the founder of several health related websites and the current owner of AHealthBlog, which regularly publishes evidence based health and fitness news and information. When he isn’t writing, you can find him mountain biking or surfing.



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