Acupuncture Treatment for Migraine and Headache
Chinese Medicine For Headache and Migraine
First off Chinese medicine, or more specifically acupuncture is considered to be effective for the management of migraine, tension type headache and other chronic headaches. The research that has lead to proclaiming the effectiveness of acupuncture for headache and migraine will be explored below, but due to the evidence being so positive we thought it important to mention at the outset of this article. Our Melbourne based acupuncture clinic is within the northern suburbs of Coburg. We look forward to working with you and providing headache and migraine acupuncture to help you.
Headache and Migraine
Headache is the most commonly reported health related condition in Australia, with around 15% of us taking pain reducing medicine for a headache or migraine at any given time. It is likely that almost every one of us will encounter headache within our lifetime. Individuals of all ages can experience the symptoms of headache and migraine, however individuals between the ages of 25 and 44 years are more likely to report it.
Does Acupuncture Help with Headache and Migraine?
There is a compelling body evidence supporting the positive effects of using acupuncture for migraine and headache treatment. The Acupuncture evidence project identified 3 main areas where acupuncture was helpful for headache and migraine - specifically general headaches, migraines and tension type headaches. It reported that acupuncture had a positive effect on migraine and headaches.
Acupuncture Treatment for Headache - The Research
- Kim reported that acupuncture is a cost effective option for the treatment of headache (2). Another study proclaimed the potentially important role for acupuncture as part of a treatment plan for migraine, tension-type headache, and several different types of chronic headache disorders and that it was also considered a cost effective option when compared to conventional treatment (3). It was also reported that Acupuncture can reduce workplace headache pain intensity, frequency and related disability (4).
Acupuncture Treatment for Migraine - Research
- A narrative review of large high quality RCTs found that acupuncture seems to be at least as effective as conventional preventative medication for migraine and is safe, long lasting, and cost-effective (5). A Cochrane review discovered that acupuncture reduces migraine frequency. Acupuncture is superior to sham acupuncture and may be as effective as conventional prophylactic drugs. A subgroup analysis showed a larger effect size when 16 or more treatments given compared to 12 treatments or less (6). Another Study with Moderate quality evidence also reported acupuncture superior to sham in effectiveness for migraine and reduced risk of migraine recurrence. (7)
Acupuncture for Tension Type Headache - Research
- Linde 2016 (Cochrane SR of 12 RCTs)(43): Effective for frequent episodic or chronic tension type headaches (8).
What Causes Headache and Migraines?
There are distinctive categories of headache and migraine, and a wide range of causes, which indicates why the condition is so pervasive. Most headaches have in excess of one contributing variable. A portion of the more typical triggers for headaches and migraines are lifestyle related, for example, less than stellar eating routine, increasing stress, muscle tightness, and absence of activity. Serious underlying causes are rarely at the root of a headache or migraine, for example, mind tumours, are once in a while the reason for migraine, although a severe migraine that has not abated or is getting progressively worse can be red flags that should be immediately looked at by medical professionals. When in doubt, seek medical help (9).
Types of Migraines and Headaches
Headaches can be grouped into two general classes: Primary and secondary. Primary headaches includes cluster and tension type headaches. Secondary headaches are usually activated by another condition– for example, disease, infection or a tumour – and are usually a secondary symptom of the principle ailment (9).
Conventional Treatment for Migraine and Headache?
At our Melbourne based Acupuncture clinic we will often see patients looking to use acupuncture for their headaches and migraines in addition to their conventional treatment. In some circumstances certain medications can make headaches worse or more regular such a oral contraceptives and HRT. Some diabetes management medication may also contribute to headaches and migraines. Some pain relieving medications may even result in rebound headaches when the medication wears off. Conventional western pharmaceutical treatment will often depend on the type of headache and migraine but can include pain relievers such as aspirin, prophylactic medications such as Sandomigran, and medications that act upon the arteries. Conventional treatment will also often include changes to diet and lifestyle, stress reduction strategies, exercise and hopefully a referral to you local acupuncturist given the good evidence of acupunctures effect upon headaches and migraines
Treating Your Migraine and Headache with Acupuncture
Chinese medicine approach to migraine is a bit different to the general western medicine view and we tend to take a holistic view when approaching your acupuncture treatment. Generally for headache and migraine acupuncture treatment we usually will schedule a number of treatments as part of your treatment plan. Acupuncture can be a great management tool for migraines and headaches, but it is not a magic pill, and will require a course of acupuncture treatment.
When working with you and your pain we may ask how long you have had this issue, what makes it worse or better, is there any restricted movement and some other questions about the injury or pain. We will then review other aspects of your health like your activities, sleep quality, aches and pains, your cycle (if relevant) and energy levels. After palpating your pulse and/or abdomen, we then decide upon a course of treatment that we will discuss with you. At Coburg Chinese medicine we support an integrative and inclusive approach to treatment. We may discuss with you the inclusion of chinese herbal medicine in your treatment plan
Our Melbourne Acupuncture Clinic
Based in Melbourne, the Coburg Clinic services people from Coburg and surrounding Northern suburbs such as Brunswick, Pascoe Vale, Preston, Fawkner, Thornbury, Northcote. If you wish to discuss how acupuncture can assist you call us on 03 9041 656
Call us on ☎ (03) 9041 6569 to arrange an appointment or book online below
1. McDonald, John & Janz, Stephen. (2016). The Acupuncture Evidence Project : A Comparative Literature Review (Revised). Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association Ltd, Coorparoo
2. Kim SY, Lee H, Chae Y, Park HJ, Lee H. A systematic review of cost-effectiveness analyses alongside randomised controlled trials of acupuncture. Acupunct Med. 2012 Dec;30(4):273-85.
3. Coeytaux RR, Befus D. Role of Acupuncture in the Treatment or Prevention of Migraine, Tension-Type Headache, or Chronic Headache Disorders. Headache. 2016 Jul;56(7):1238-40.
4. Lardon A, Girard MP, Zaim C, Lemeunier N, Descarreaux M, Marchand AA. Effectiveness of preventive and treatment interventions for primary headaches in the workplace: A systematic review of the literature. Cephalalgia. 2016 Mar 2.
5. Da Silva AN. Acupuncture for migraine prevention. Headache. 2015 Mar;55(3):470-3.
6. Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Vertosick EA, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016(6):Cd001218.
7. Yang Y, Que Q, Ye X, Zheng G. Verum versus sham manual acupuncture for migraine: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Acupunct Med. 2016 Apr;34(2):76-83.
8. Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Shin BC, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;4:Cd007587.
9. Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. (2017).Headache. [online] Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/headache [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].