East West Acupuncture

East West Acupuncture

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Many reports have shown acupuncture to be useful in the treatment of migraines and other forms of headache. In a preliminary trial, 18 of 26 patients suffering from migraine headaches demonstrated an improvement in symptoms following therapy with acupuncture, accompanied by a 50% reduction in the use of pain medication (Baischer W). Previous preliminary studies have demonstrated similar results (Boivie 1987; Loh 1984; Spoerel 1976). These results have also been confirmed in placebo-controlled trials (Vincent 1989, Lenhard 1983). Improvement has been maintained at one and three years of follow-up Markelova et al (1984) have shown that in migraine headache acupuncture responders the therapeutic effect is achieved by normalization of serotonin levels and not by analgesic effects from increased endorphin production. In preliminary research, patients suffering from chronic headaches of various types (including migraine, cluster, or tension headaches) have also experienced an improvement in symptoms following acupuncture treatment. (Cheng 1975) In a study comparing acupuncture to traditional drug therapy, a significantly greater cure rate was achieved in the acupuncture group relative to the drug treatment group (75% vs. 34%). (Shuyuan 1999) Dry needling involves insertion of acupuncture needles into painful muscle areas (trigger points). A study of 85 patients comparing dry needle acupuncture to conventional drug therapy found a similar reduction in frequency and duration of migraine attacks in both treatment groups. (Hesse 1994)

Allais G, De Lorenzo C, Quirico PE, Airola G, Tolardo G, Mana O, Benedetto C. Acupuncture in the prophylactic treatment of migraine without aura: a comparison with flunarizine. Headache. 2002 Oct;42(9):855-61: “Acupuncture proved to be adequate for migraine prophylaxis. Relative to flunarizine, acupuncture treatment exhibited greater effectiveness in the first months of therapy and superior tolerability.” Comparison without placebo groups. 160 subjects.

Carlsson, J., et. al., (1990) Health status in patients with tension headache treated with acupuncture or physiotherapy. Headache 30(9):593-9. 62 female patients with chronic tension headaches were randomized to acupuncture or physiotherapy. Both treatment groups showed improvement in overall function and a significant decrease in intensity and frequency of headaches although improvements with physiotherapy were greater.

Baischer W. Acupuncture in migraine: long-term outcome and predicting factors. Headache 1995 Sep;35:472–4.

Boivie J, Brattberg G Are there long lasting effects on migraine headache after one series of acupuncture treatments? Am J Chin Med 1987;15:69–75.,

Loh L, Nathan PW, Schott GD, Zilkha KJ. Acupuncture versus medical treatment for migraine and muscle tension headaches. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1984;47:333–7

Spoerel WE, Varkey M, Leung CY. Acupuncture in chronic pain. Am J Chin Med 1976;4:267–79.

Vincent CA. A controlled trial of the treatment of migraine by acupuncture. Clin J Pain 1989;5:305–12.

Lenhard L, Waite PME. Acupuncture in the prophylactic treatment of migraine headaches: pilot study. NZ Med J 1983;96:663–6.

Cheng AC. The treatment of headaches employing acupuncture. Am J Chin Med 1975;3:181–5.

Shuyuan G, Donglan Z, Yanguang X. A comparative study on the treatment of migraine headache with combined distant and local acupuncture points versus conventional drug therapy. Am J Acupuncture 1999;27:27–30.

Hesse J, Mogelvang B, Simonsen H. Acupuncture versus metoprolol in migraine prophylaxis: a randomized trial of trigger point inactivation. J Intern Med 1994;235:451-6