Real Acupuncture More Effective Against Migraines Than Sham Acupuncture

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Acupuncture is shown to alleviate headache frequency for migraine sufferers more-so than medical treatment or sham acupuncture, according to a Cochrane review in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal.

Cochrane reviews are considered the cornerstone of medical research; the group collects and analyses datasets to detect any emergent trends. In this case, they examined data from 22 trials that included 4,985 participants, comparing the results from those who received acupuncture to those who were administered sham acupuncture, received “usual care” and traditional medical prescriptions (in this instance, prophylactic drugs.)

“Our review adds to the accumulating evidence that acupuncture seems to be effective in chronic pain conditions,” said co-author Klaus Linde, MD, deputy director of the Centre for Complementary Medicine Research at the Technical University of Munich in Germany. As for other pain conditions, the exact location seems to have a role, but the effect over sham acupuncture is small.”

Two clinicians who reviewed the study commented on how the results had swayed their own personal approaches to treatment. “The authors in their review show that acupuncture is very substantially better than usual care,” said Richard B. Lipton, MD, the Edwin S. Lowe professor and vice chair of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

“My longstanding practice has been to arrange acupuncture for patients who ask for it, but not to recommend it otherwise,” Dr. Lipton added “This review is going to impact what I do. It’s 22 randomized trials, and the Cochrane review is 150 pages. I think this is an important summary of the best evidence. I think it’s quite positive. I want to make my patients better so the imperfect blinding doesn’t matter.”

Migraines affect 38 million men, women and children in the U.S. That’s 12% of the population. Acupuncture has proven to be an effective way of combating the pain experienced by migraine sufferers. If you or a loved one are dealing with the ongoing issue of chronic migraines, call us at the Acupuncture & Wellness Center, P.S. to schedule a consultation.

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