Patients who received real acupuncture were able to see headaches decreasing from 20 to seven days per month. On the other hand, those who received superficial acupuncture experienced an increase between 23 and 12 days per month.

A new study examines the possibility that acupuncture may lower headaches

According to a research study that was recently presented in Neurology The official journal published by the American Academy of Neurology, Acupuncture may help those suffering from tension-related headaches experience less discomfort.

The most typical manifestation of tension-related headaches is a mild to moderately intense tightening or pressing sensations on both sides of the head. The physical exercise doesn’t cause these headaches worse and they don’t come with nausea. When they occur on a minimum of 15 days per month the tension-type headaches are classified as chronic.

“Tension-type headaches are one of the most frequent kinds of headaches and those suffering from many of these headaches might be searching for alternative treatments,” said study author Ying Li, MD, Ph.D. from the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine situated in Chengdu, China. “Our study showed that acupuncture can reduce the number of days of headache each month for patients struggling with these nagging and painful headaches.”

218 patients who were diagnosed with chronic tension-type headaches took part in the study. They were suffering from headaches of the tension type at an average of 22 days per month over the average period of eleven years. The acupuncture technique, also known as superficial acupuncture was administered to the participants in random. True acupuncture treatments involve the creation of deqi-like sensations by inserting and manipulating the needle in the body for an numbness, tingling or a feeling of heaviness. To prevent the occurrence of the deqi sensation, superficial treatments were more prone to body penetration. The two groups received three or two sessions per week for 20 sessions over two months. Following that, they were observed for an additional six months.

The most important result of the research was a decrease of at 50 percent in the days that participants suffered from headaches. The participants all had visits to the doctor each week for four weeks. The participants also kept headache diaries to document their symptoms as well as the use of medications for acute headaches.

In the final study 68% of patients who received acupuncture with a real needle reported at the very least a 50% decrease in the number of days of headaches when compared with 50% of those who received superficial Acupuncture.

Researchers discovered that the number of daily headache days diminished after treatment for those who received Acupuncture treatments as well as superficial treatments. If you received genuine Acupuncture, the number of headache days fell to 20 per month, from starting of the research to just seven days per month at the conclusion period. In the case of those receiving superficial acupuncture headache days dropped by 23 days in a month from start of the research to just 12 days per month by the conclusion in the course of study.

The most severe side effects of the treatment were minor and did not require treatment.

“While this study proved that acupuncture may decrease headaches however, further research is required to establish the long-term efficacy of acupuncture as well as how it compares with other treatments,” said Li. “In making comparisons between treatments, cost-effectiveness is another aspect to consider.”

The study’s drawback was the fact that it was conducted at a single hospital and the findings might not be applicable to all people.

The study was supported through the Department of Science and Technology of Sichuan Province and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Source “Acupuncture in Patients with Chronic Tension-type Headache A Randomized Controlled Study” conducted by Hui Zheng, Tao Gao Qian-Hua Zheng and Ting-Hui Hou, Ling-Yun Lu Shu-Sen Zhang, Si Yuan Zhou, Xin Yu Hao, Lu Wang, Ling Zhao Fan-Rong Luang and Ying Li, 22 June 2022, Neurology.

DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000200670