Migraine Relief

Acupuncture is safe and effective for the relief of migraine headaches. Researchers conducted a randomized-controlled investigation and determined that acupuncture reduces the frequency and intensity of migraines. The results were confirmed by comparing a real acupuncture study group with a sham acupuncture study group. The RMIT University and Royal Melbourne Hospital researchers conclude, “Acupuncture can be used as alternative and safe prophylaxis for frequent migraine. Our recommendation is that practitioners treat migraine sufferers twice per week for at least eight weeks.”

The research team made several important discoveries. They note that the total number of days with a migraine reduced for patients receiving real acupuncture. Real acupuncture improved quality of life scores and produced significant reductions in the need for migraine medication consumption. The researchers note “more participants in the RA (real acupuncture) group used less pain killers as relief medication than in the SA (sham acupuncture) group” at the end of the treatment regime. Sham acupuncture did not produce the significant positive patient outcomes as did real acupuncture. The relief from migraine frequency and intensity using real acupuncture was confirmed in a three month follow-up investigation. In addition, the real acupuncture group had significant improvements in pressure pain thresholds.

The total number of days with a migraine significantly reduced in the real acupuncture group over and above results in the sham acupuncture group. The researchers applied a further measure of clinical results in what they termed a “responder.” This is an individual whose clinical improvements were at least a 50% reduction in the total number of days with a migraine. Both at the end of the twenty week acupuncture treatment period and in a three month follow-up investigation, the real acupuncture group had an overwhelmingly significant number of responders when compared with the sham acupuncture group. Approximately 73% of real acupuncture patients had a 50% or greater reduction in the number of days with a migraine. The sham acupuncture group had an approximately 29% reduction. In addition, the real acupuncture group had a faster onset of pain relief from migraine attacks than the sham acupuncture group.

Wang, Yanyi, Charlie Changli Xue, Robert Helme, Cliff Da Costa, and Zhen Zheng. “Acupuncture for Frequent Migraine: A Randomized, Patient/Assessor Blinded, Controlled Trial with One-Year Follow-Up.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015 (2015).