Houston Acupuncture Is A Proven Treatment Option For Those Suffering From Headaches
In the U.S., between three and five percent of the population suffer from a chronic headache disorder, which is defined by at least 15 days every month where a headache is present. Among patients with chronic headaches, migraines are extremely common.
This is a debilitating condition to live with and traditional western medicine can’t always solve it. For those who haven’t attained sufficient relief through western therapies, a blend of western and eastern medicine, like acupuncture services, may be an effective alternative.
Acupuncture has been used to treat a variety of conditions for thousands of years. Chronic headaches are one such condition, and there’s an impressive amount of medical research to show that it works. And it usually works best when combined with western treatment modalities, which is why some practices, including ours, aim for a blend of western and eastern treatment methods.
What Types Of Headaches Can Acupuncture Help With?
At Houston Acupuncture and Primary Care, we don’t treat every headache as if it’s the same. Instead, we consider the type of headache the patient is experiencing before recommending a course of treatment.
For example, an acupuncturist in Houston can help with the following types of headaches:
As you can see, there are a lot of similarities between migraines, tension, and cluster headaches, so a reputable acupuncturist will develop a different approach to each.
What Does The Medical Research Say About Acupuncture And Headaches?
Although research into acupuncture’s overall efficacy is ongoing, the evidence that is available shows promising results for patients with chronic headaches. Some of that evidence includes:
- A meta-analysis of 22 trials, drawn from the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews, considered 4,985 patients, and found that acupuncture could be helpful for patients experiencing episodic migraines. In the acupuncture group, 41 percent of patients reported that their migraines had been reduced by at least 50 percent following the study’s conclusion. In the no acupuncture group, only 19 percent of patients had a similar reduction.
Acupuncture also maintained a significant advantage over sham acupuncture, which uses needles that don’t penetrate the skin (this provides an appropriate placebo-like control group). This suggests that genuine acupuncture provides real benefits that cannot be described by psychology alone.
- A 2022 study published in Neurology of 218 people looked at patients with chronic tension headaches and split the patient pool into two groups. One group received genuine acupuncture, with the needles deep enough in the skin to produce the familiar “heavy” effect associated with acupuncture. The other group received sham acupuncture, with the needles penetrating very lightly into the skin, and without provoking the same heavy sensation.
In the group that received genuine acupuncture, 68 percent of patients experienced a 50 percent or more reduction in headaches at the 32-week mark. In the group that received sham acupuncture, 50 percent claimed a similar reduction in headaches after 32 weeks.
- A 2012 meta-analysis that considered about 18,000 patients took patient data from 23 good quality studies and also found a significantly positive effect for headaches, along with several other chronic pain disorders. They included low back pain, neck pain and osteoarthritis.
An important note, in all three of these studies and analyses, minimal adverse effects were reported. This supports acupuncture’s reputation as a potentially safer alternative to many drug therapies.
Our Practice Combines Acupuncture With Western Medicine To Optimize Treatment
Given acupuncture’s potential as a headache-treating modality, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of people are considering it for their chronic headaches. More than 10 million people receive acupuncture in the U.S. every year, and most of those patients receive their treatment through a licensed acupuncturist like our practice.
With a licensed Houston acupuncturist providing treatment, you can be sure that everything is safe, clean, and done according to best acupuncture practices.