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Acupuncture May Help Those With Chronic Headaches

Posted: August 29, 2008

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In the end, the study found, acupuncture patients reported greater pain improvements than those who stayed with their usual care only. At the outset, they reported an average of 8.4 headache days over three months; that dropped to 4.7 by the study's end. In the usual care only group, the average number of headache days remained virtually the same: 8.1 days initially, and 7.5 days at the end of the study.

"Acupuncture plus routine care in patients with headache was associated with marked clinical improvements compared with routine care alone," write the researchers, led by Dr. Stefan N. Willich of Charite University Medical Center in Berlin.

Acupuncture has been used for more than 2,000 years in Chinese medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments. According to traditional medicine, specific acupuncture points on the skin are connected to internal pathways that conduct energy, or qi ("chee"), and stimulating these points with a fine needle promotes the healthy flow of qi.

Modern research has suggested that acupuncture may help ease pain by altering signals among nerve cells or affecting the release of various chemicals of the central nervous system.

Source: Cephalalgia, September 2008.