ACUPUNCTURE TREATS CHRONIC TENSION-TYPE HEADACHE
Acupuncture may provide relief from chronic headache pain, among other benefits, according to a new study. A group of scientists at the University of Aarhus of Denmark recently published a report on the effect of acupuncture-like electrical stimulation on chronic tension-type headache (CTTH). They have demonstrated that acupuncture is a safe and potentially analgesic-sparing therapy for tension headache. The report appears in the recent issue of the Clinical Journal of Pain.
Participants included 36 patients (18 men, 18 women) with CTTH. The patients were randomly assigned into two groups: a treatment group and a placebo group. Pain duration, pain intensity on a 0 to 10 scale, number of headache attacks, and use of medication were recorded in a diary by participants. Diary logs were kept for two weeks before treatment (baseline), the early stage of treatment (first two weeks), the late stage of treatment (weeks three and four), and after the end of treatment (two, four and six week follow-up).
Patients were taught how to use either an acupuncture-like electrical stimulator or a sham stimulator (identical but incapable of delivering an electric current) and then instructed to use the device at home. Six acupoints were stimulated, three minutes for each point, twice daily. Results determined pain duration was shorted during the first two weeks and pain intensity was decreased during the first four weeks, compared to baseline for both treatment and placebo groups. A decrease in analgesic use was observed in the treatment group.
Study conclusions indicated that acupuncture-like electrical stimulation is a safe and potentially analgesic-sparing therapy that should be considered as an adjunctive treatment for patients with CTTH. Although headaches are one of the most frequent health conditions leading to medical visits, allopathic treatment may be ineffective in pain management. Acupuncture can reduce the intensity and frequency of headaches as well as analgesic consumption. When headaches occur more than a few times a month, treatment is recommended. For more information about acupuncture for headache prevention and treatment contact Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.