What is a migraine?
Migraine is a common neurological disease that can be very disabling. It is typically a throbbing headache, usually on one side. It can be associated with nausea and vomiting and increased sensitivity to light and sound.
What are the triggers?
Triggers differ from person to person, but they can include:
- Environmental (lights, smells, sounds, computers, weather changes)
- Dietary (missed meals, caffeine withdrawal, alcohol, dehydration, MSG)
- Hormonal (menstruation, ovulation, oral contraceptives, pregnancy, menopause)
- Physical and emotional (lack of sleep, oversleeping, illness, back pain, vigorous exercise, emotions)
How is it treated with Western medicine?
There are two types of medication used for migraine – acute treatment and preventative treatment. Acute treatment includes painkillers and anti-nausea medicines for infrequent, less severe migraines. Preventatives are either taken daily or monthly, regardless if a person has a migraine at the time to reduce the incidence of migraines.
How can acupuncture help?
Recent clinical trials have found a positive outcome in the prevention and treatment of migraines through acupuncture treatment.
One trial conducted in 2020 sought to measure the change in migraine days and migraine attacks in 150 acupuncture patients with episodic migraine without aura. One-third of participants received manual acupuncture, one third received non-penetrating sham acupuncture, and the remaining third received usual care alone. Conducted over eight weeks, each of the acupuncture groups had 20 sessions. The trial found that 20 sessions of manual acupuncture were superior to sham acupuncture and usual care for the prophylaxis of episodic migraine without aura. With these results in mind, it can be concluded that acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment. It may be especially useful for patients who may be reluctant to use prophylactic drugs and should be considered in the management of migraine.
Another study looked at acupuncture as an adjuvant treatment for the symptomatic relief of migraine. The trial was completed over two years and used a control group and intervention group. After 12 weeks of acupuncture treatment, there was a statistically significant difference in the number of responders to treatment in the acupuncture group. The number of migraine days was reduced by 5.5 in the acupuncture group and two days in the control group. There was at least a 50% reduction in average monthly migraine day frequency after the trial had ended and at the 6-month follow-up. It was concluded that acupuncture could reduce migraine symptoms and medication use both short and long term.
Acupuncture for headaches Brisbane
For more information about how we can help you, please contact us on 3371 0100, or book online for a consultation.
1. Xu, S, Y, K et al. 2020, ‘Manual acupuncture versus sham acupuncture and usual care for prophylaxis of episodic migraine without aura: multicentre, randomised clinical trial’, BMJ, vol. 368, no. 697.
2. Musil, F, Pokladnikova, J et al. 2018, ‘Acupuncture in migraine prophylaxis in Czech patients: an open-label randomized controlled trial’, Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, vol. 14, pp. 1221-1228.