Tension Headaches helped with Acupuncture

Patients with tension-type headache suffer from episodes of pain which is typically bilateral (affects both sides of the head), pressing or tightening in quality, mild to moderate in intensity, and which does not worsen with routine physical activity.

In most patients tension-type headache occurs infrequently and there is no need for further treatment beyond over-the-counter pain killers. In some patients, however, tension-type headache occurs on several days per month or even daily.

Acupuncture is used in many countries for tension-type headache prophylaxis – that is, to reduce the frequency and intensity of tension-type headaches. The Cochrane Group reviewed 11 trials which investigated whether acupuncture is effective in the prophylaxis of tension-type headache.

Two large trials investigating whether adding acupuncture to basic care (which usually involves only treating unbearable pain with pain killers) found that those patients who received acupuncture had fewer headaches.

Forty-seven percent of patients receiving acupuncture reported a decrease in the number of headache days by at least 50%, compared to 16% of patients in the control groups.

Six trials compared true acupuncture with inadequate or ‘fake’ acupuncture interventions in which needles were either inserted at incorrect points or did not penetrate the skin. Overall, these trials found slightly better effects in the patients receiving the true acupuncture intervention.

Fifty percent of patients receiving true acupuncture reported a decrease of the number of headache days by at least 50%, compared to 41% of patients in the groups receiving inadequate or ‘fake’ acupuncture.

Three of the four trials in which acupuncture was compared to physiotherapy, massage or relaxation had important methodological shortcomings. Their findings are difficult to interpret, but collectively suggest slightly better results for some outcomes with the latter therapies.

In conclusion, the available evidence suggests that acupuncture could be a valuable option for patients suffering from frequent tension-type headache.

Published by the Cochrane Pain Palliative and Supportive Group, 7 October 2009

About David Drysdale

David Drysdale has worked as an Osteopath in the West End of Glasgow since 1996. David combines a wide range of techniques when treating a patient, ranging from Osteopathic Manipulation, Massage, Trigger Point Therapy, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Nutrition and Exercise. Treatments are tailored for the Patient. It is understood that some people simply do not like osteopathic manipulation, while others like Deep Tissue Massage, or benefit from Cranio-Sacral Therapy. There are different ways of treating people who are in pain, and providing the treatment that works for you is very important. Osteopathy is well known for treating Headaches, Neck & Back Pain, but many other conditions such as migraines, frozen shoulder and arthritis can all respond well to good Osteopathic treatment.
This entry was posted in Acupuncture, Cochrane Reports, Headaches, Pain, Tension Headaches. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tension Headaches helped with Acupuncture

  1. Pingback: Acupuncture « Linda Long Writes!

Many Thanks…………….. Davy Drysdale

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