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Acupuncture Helps Chronic Headaches According to Largest Study

By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM

A German study published in the September, 2008 issue of Cephalalgia shows that people who suffer from chronic migraines may benefit from acupuncture to reduce the severity and frequency of their headaches.

The study is one of the largest to date on using acupuncture to ease headaches.  Researchers from Charité University Medical Centre in Berlin followed more than 15,000 adults who had been suffering from either migraine or tension-type headaches at least twice a month for a year or more.

Of these patients, 1613 were assigned to receive acupuncture in 15 sessions over 3 months in addition to usual care, while 1569 continued with usual care alone.

After 6 months, acupuncture patients reported significantly greater reductions in headache pain than those who continued with usual care.

Headache frequency fell significantly in patients assigned to acupuncture, from 8.4 headache days over 3 months at the start of the study to 4.7 headache days over 3 months at the end.

In contrast, headache frequency remained almost constant, at nearly 8 headache days every 3 months, in patients assigned to usual care alone.

"Our study has shown that treating patients with headache in routine primary care in Germany with additional acupuncture resulted in a clinically relevant and persistent benefit." Lead researcher, Dr. Stefan Willich concluded. "Therefore, acupuncture should be considered a viable option for patients with headache."

Source: Cephalalgia, Volume 28 Issue 9, Pages 911 - 913

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