Why acupuncture is the best option for post-traumatic headaches?
US military physicians say it should be recommended to patients because it is:
has long lasting benefits.
Dr Khusid of Deployment Health Clinical Centre (US Department of Defence) in her study says the current guidelines recommend a symptomatic approach for the three patterns of post traumatic headaches: migraine-like, tension-like, and mixed symptomatology.
Symptomatic approach, means that only the symptoms are treated/relieved, not addressing the root cause of the headaches.
Dr Khusid concludes that current evidence shows that acupuncture is effective for migraine prophylaxis and neurovascular and tension-type headaches. Because of its safety, cost-effectiveness, and long-lasting benefits, adjunctive acupuncture should be offered to patients with chronic post-traumatic headaches. It may be a valuable treatment for patients with contraindications to pharmaceutical medications.
Acupuncture is more effective in prevention of chronic migraine headaches and is 10 times safer compared to topiramate treatment. These are the findings of a study published in the current issue of Cephalalgia, a journal for International Headache Society. The researchers compared acupuncture with topiramate. They call for acupuncture to be considered a treatment option for chronic migraine patients, even for those patients with medication overuse.
Studies have shown that addressing tension in the neck, which often accompanies migraines and headaches can be very helpful reducing the severity and frequency of the headaches. I can see in my practice that combining acupuncture with gentle mobilisation of the neck muscles is the most effective way to manage acute migraine and to prevent migraines. It will be interesting to see more studies looking into the combination of these treatments in the future.
Eating a chocolate can be painful experience when you suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder(TMD or TMJD). But it is only one of numerous symptoms TMJD can cause. Symptoms may include headaches or migraines, tooth pain, and others.
Journal of Orofacial Pain has published a systematic review on acupuncture for treatment of temporomandibular joint disorders.
The review included 19 randomized controlled trials. The results concluded that acupuncture was more effective for TMD symptoms than physical therapy. Acupuncture was also more effective than indomethacin plus vitamin B1 therapy, and a wait-list control. Acupuncture was safe with no serious adverse events reported by the studies.
Three of the studies, included in the review, compared acupuncture to a placebo. Researchers concluded acupuncture had a therapeutic effect beyond placebo.
For some very helpful and detailed explanation of temporomandibular joint visit Dr Paul Smedley’s website.
Acupuncture is superior medication therapy for headaches. Acupuncture is more effective than sham acupuncture (fake acupuncture or placebo) in reducing headache intensity and frequency. More people respond to acupuncture than to medication. These are the conclusions of this massive systematic review, which included 31 studies on acupuncture for chronic headache, including migraine and tension-type headache. This high quality study was conducted by Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, USA and published in the current issue of Anesthesia and Analgesia.
Researchers at University of Leeds, UK, have found a direct neural connection between neck muscles and a part of the brain stem (called the nucleus tractus solitarius), which plays a crucial role in regulating heart rate and blood pressure. (The Journal of Neuroscience)
This finding could explain why blood pressure and heart rate sometimes change when the neck muscles are injured – through whiplash, for example. Similarly, it is possible that hours spent hunched over a computer may raise blood pressure.
Tense neck muscles also can be a cause of headaches and migraines.
If your neck muscles are tense, I urge you to address this:
1. Stretch regularly, observe your posture 2. Get your partner to massage your shoulders frequently 3. Acupuncture (has long term effect relaxing neck muscles) 4. Gentle manipulation (to correct the posture and to prevent the muscles tensing up)
A combination of physical exercise, relaxation training, and acupuncture provide long-lasting improvements for patients with chronic tension-type headaches. This is the conclusion of Swedish study published in the current issue of the journal Cephalalgia.
Frequent use of pain medications can lead to chronic headaches. This is why it is important that analgesics are discontinued as a first step in treating tension headaches. My comment: I’ve treated lots of patients suffering from headaches over the years and have combined acupuncture, gentle manual therapy and sometimes exercise with most of the patients. It is comforting to know that what I find most effective in practice is being confirmed by the research.
According to a new study published in British Medical Journal, Acupuncture helps to relieve the chronic headaches, migraine in particular. Such are the conclusions of a clinical study, carried out in England and in Wales.
The study aimed at evaluating if acupuncture could be effective, in the case of the headaches, to be integrated into the free care of the system of public health in England.
The researchers followed 401 patients suffering from chronic headaches, mainly of migraines for 12 months. These patients had been divided in two groups: one received up to 12 treatments of acupuncture for three months, while the others were treated by a usual medication and were used as a reference group.
Researches measured the gravity of the headaches among patients after 3 and 12 months. They also evaluated, the need to take drugs or to consult a doctor.
After 12 months, the results showed that the headaches had decreased twice more in the group treated by acupuncture that in the group which received a medication (reduction of 34% against 16%).
The patients, who belonged to the group treated by acupuncture, counted on average 22 days fewer headaches per year. Acupuncture group had used less drugs, made less medical visits and taken less sick leave.
The researchers concluded that acupuncture produces beneficial and persistent effects among patients suffering from chronic headaches, especially from migraines.
In my experience acupuncture combined with gentle mobilisation of neck muscles is the most effective way to treat migraines. Sometimes the researchers are so busy determining what exactly worked and how, that they stop seeing the bigger picture. And in the case of migraine, a combination of therapies is significantly more effective than either therapy on its own. It is important to relax the neck muscles and acupuncture alone is not as effective. There was another study on migraines, where they injected botox into acupuncture points to relax the neck muscles and to stimulate the acupuncture points. The result was a long term relief. However, there are risks involved in using botox, not to mention it is very expensive.