There is now sufficient quantity and quality of evidence to show that acupuncture performs as well as, if not better than, the traditional pharmaceutical treatment of migraine and tension type headaches (1, 2). According to the Cochrane Collaborative, a well respected group which reviews medical research, acupuncture was shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of both migraine headaches and tension type headaches. The effects of acupuncture not only out performed pharmaceuticals but did so with much fewer side effects. One of the migraine headache studies even measured the long term benefits and found that significant improvements were still apparent nine months after the course of acupuncture treatment had finished!
Acupuncture performs as well as, if not better than, the traditional pharmaceutical treatment of migraine and tension type headaches. The effects of acupuncture not only out performed pharmaceuticals but did so with much fewer side effects.
This is great news for migraine and headache sufferers, but the results are no surprise to us. We treat migraines and tension headaches on a daily basis in our clinic and most patients that come in with a migraine or headache feel significant relief by the end of their first treatment. During a course of treatment we may combine acupuncture with herbal medicine, nutritional suggestions and stress reduction techniques. This more holistic and comprehensive approach enhances relief and works towards further reducing migraines and tension headache by treating the root of the problem. The number of treatments you will need greatly depends upon how severe your headaches are and how long they have been occurring. We have some patients that we treat just once or twice a year when a migraine occurs and they need no other treatment other than that. Others with more severe or chronic migraines are on a more regular course of treatment in order to keep headaches at bay.
If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, it is imperative that, in addition to getting regular acupuncture treatments, you get plenty of sleep, reduce stress, stay hydrated and avoid triggers such as alcohol, sugar and skipping meals. These lifestyle changes that you can make on your own are both free and important in the long-term treatment of headaches and migraines. Your acupuncturist will tailor these suggestions to reflect your unique presentation. Remember that acupuncture not only reduces the frequency and intensity of migraines and headaches but it also induces a “relaxation response” and reverses the effects of stress on your body. Acupuncture helps you feel better faster and when you feel better you are able to make healthier lifestyle choices. Why suffer with headaches, migraines or side effects from medications that are not that effective? Click here to learn more about treating your migraines and tension headaches with acupuncture.
- Linde K, et.al. Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [serial online]. August 9, 2009;(4) Available from: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Ipswich, MA. Accessed January 29, 2010.
- Linde K, et al. Acupuncture for tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [serial online]. August 9, 2009;(4) Available from: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Ipswich, MA. Accessed January 29, 2010.