A headache or migraine may stem from postural imbalances or from your physical or emotional state. When a headache becomes reoccurring and persistent, interfering with your normal everyday functioning it suggests an imbalance and an intervention is recommended to help enhance your quality of life.
Headaches may be due to myofascial lesions in the soft tissues of the neck or upper back. This may alter the muscular formation resulting in sensations of tight knots or taut painful bands of muscle. When these lesions are pressed they may refer to different parts of the head commonly referred to as “trigger points” which are commonly seen in people who suffer from frequent headaches (2).
Some Causes of Headaches or Migraines
Acupuncture for migraine and tension type headache has recommended in the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Guidelines (NICE Guidelines) since 2012 (4, 7). High quality randomized controlled trials and two systematic reviews including a Cochrane Library systematic review confirmed the following:
The most recent Cochrane Library systematic review confirmed that Acupuncture is effective for frequent episodic and chronic tension-type headaches (4). It was also concluded that the addition of Acupuncture to symptomatic episodes helps reduce the frequency of headaches and may be at least effective as prophylactic drugs (1). Acupuncture is recognised as having a potentially important role as part of a treatment plan for migraine, tension-type headache and several different types of chronic headache disorders (3, 4). For Migraine Prophylaxis, acupuncture was rated as ‘effective’ in the Australian DVA review (2010) and ‘evidence of positive effect’ in the USVA Evidence map of acupuncture (2014) (14, 15). Since March 2013 a narrative review of high quality randomised controlled trials and two systematic reviews including a Cochrane systematic review update, have confirmed that acupuncture is superior to sham acupuncture and seems to be at least as effective as conventional preventative medication in reducing migraine frequency (11-13). Moreover, acupuncture is described as safe, long-lasting and cost effective (11).
Your Acupuncturist at Vyne Health will do a thorough health screen to help understand your current and previous health history and lifestyle and dietary habits. This will help develop a treatment plan tailored to you and the location, severity and frequency of your headaches or migraines.
Kim 2012: Acupuncture is cost effective for dysmenorrhoea, allergic rhinitis, osteoarthritis & headache
Coeytaux 2016 (Brief review of selected SRs and MAs): A potentially important role for acupuncture as part of a treatment plan for migraine, tension-type headache, and several different types of chronic headache disorders. Cost-effective in Germany and UK
Lardon 2016 (SR of 15 RCTs): Acupuncture can reduce workplace headache pain intensity, frequency and related disability; low quality evidence
Kim SY, Lee H, Chae Y, Park HJ, Lee H. A systematic review of cost-effectiveness analyses alongside randomised controlled trials of acupuncture. Acupunct Med. 2012 Dec;30(4):273-85.
Coeytaux RR, Befus D. Role of Acupuncture in the Treatment or Prevention of Migraine, Tension-Type Headache, or Chronic Headache Disorders. Headache. 2016 Jul;56(7):1238.
Lardon A, Girard MP, Zaim C, Lemeunier N, Descarreaux M, Marchand AA. Effectiveness of preventive and treatment interventions for primary headaches in the workplace: A systematic review of the literature.
Da Silva AN. Acupuncture for migraine prevention. Headache. 2015 Mar;55(3):470-3.
Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Vertosick EA, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016(6):Cd001218.
Yang Y, Que Q, Ye X, Zheng G. Verum versus sham manual acupuncture for migraine: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Acupunct Med. 2016 Apr;34(2):76-83.
Biotext. Alternative therapies and Department of Veterans' Affairs Gold and White Card arrangements. In: Australian Government Department of Veterans' Affairs, editor: Australian Government Department of Veterans' Affairs; 2010.
Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway MR, Miake-Lye IM, Beroes JM, Shanman R, et al. VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program Reports. Evidence Map of Acupuncture. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs; 2014.