|17/11/2005 - Acupuncture Cuts Tension Headache Rates by Almost Half |
a randomised controlled trial - the gold standard of clinical trials
- researchers in Germany divided 270 patients with a similar severity
of tension headache into three groups.
Over an eight week
period one set were treated with traditional acupuncture, one with
minimal acupuncture (needles inserted only superficially into the
skin, at non-acupuncture points), and one group had neither treatment
traditional acupuncture care saw their headache rates drop by almost
half - suffering 7 days less headaches over the four weeks following
the treatment. Those receiving minimal acupuncture had 6.6 less
days of headaches. While the control group experienced 1.5 less
days of headaches - a drop of just a tenth.
headache rates continued for months after the acupuncture treatment,
though they began to rise slightly as time went on.
Those in the 'no
treatment' group were subsequently given acupuncture for eight weeks
after the main study period. These patients also improved significantly
after the treatment, though not to the same level as those given
Of the 195 patients
in the acupuncture groups, 37 reported some side effects - the most
common being dizziness, other headaches and bruising.
Such a small difference
in results between traditional and minimal acupuncture treatments
seems to indicate that the location of acupuncture points and other
aspects of traditional Chinese acupuncture do not make a major difference
for tension headache, say the authors.
are sometimes associated with strong placebo effects, caution the
authors. But these findings show that acupuncture produces just
as good improvements for tension headache sufferers as treatments
already accepted, they conclude.