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Acupuncture for headaches

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According to the WHO, 1 to 3% of adults worldwide regularly suffer from tension headaches. It is headache mild, mild to moderate in intensity. Faced with this problem, few therapeutic solutions are effective. Recently, researchers have taken an interest in acupuncture as a possible alternative to relieve patients. Results.

Headaches and therapeutic solutions

Tension headaches refer to headache frequent, mild, mild to moderate in intensity, not to be confused with true migraine. Patients describe a tight feeling around the head and different triggers of these headache :

  • The stress ;
  • Sleep disturbances;
  • Pain in the neck or head region;
  • Eye strains.

These tension headaches occur rarely or very frequently in the same person. To relieve them, several solutions are available:

  • Painkillers, such as paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen;
  • Behavioral and psychological interventions;
  • Relaxation or stress management techniques;
  • A massage of the painful area.

Acupuncture would significantly reduce the number of headaches per month

Other therapeutic alternatives are being studied, in particular acupuncture. Recently, researchers carried out a clinical trial, controlled, randomized on 218 people (average age: 43.1 years). The objective of the study is to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture on headache. Participants were followed for 32 weeks. They had all been diagnosed with tension headaches between June 2017 and September 2020. The researchers divided them into two groups:

  • A “control” group, receiving an acupuncture placebo (only superficial stimulation of the acupuncture points, not allowing the desired result to be obtained by the session);
  • An “acupuncture” group receiving 20 acupuncture sessions lasting 30 minutes, over a period of 8 weeks.

Responder rate was defined as the percentage of participants reporting a reduction of at least 50% in the number of painful headache days per month. In the “acupuncture” group, the rate of responders observed at 16 weeks was 68.2%, against only 48.1% in the “control” group.

An interest in the prevention of tension headaches

After 32 weeks of follow-up, the rate of responders was respectively 68.2% in the “acupuncture” group and 50% in the “control” group. In terms of number of days of headachethe average reduction was 13.1 days in the “acupuncture” group, against only 8.8 days in the “control” group at week 16, then respectively 14 and 9.5 days at 32 weeks.

In terms of tolerance, only three moderate adverse events were observed in participants who received acupuncture sessions. Based on these new data, the researchers conclude that acupuncture is useful in preventing tension headaches in subjects who frequently experience these headache. New studies are needed to assess the cost-effectiveness ratio of this therapeutic alternative, particularly in relation to the use of analgesic drugs.

Estelle B., Doctor of Pharmacy


– Acupuncture for Patients With Chronic Tension-Type Headache: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Accessed June 26, 2022.

#Acupuncture #headaches

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