Migraine Prophylaxis: The Long-Term Effects of Acupuncture
Migraine is a neurological disease that affects 38 million people in the United States and one billion people around the world, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. It happens to be the third most prevalent illness and the sixth most disabling illness in the world. Those who have migraines know they’re much more than a bad headache. They send someone to the emergency room every 10 seconds, with 1.2 million visits attributed to these debilitating attacks.
It’s hard to think beyond the short term when you’re suffering from a migraine. However, that’s just what researchers are doing. They want to study the long-term effects of migraine acupuncture treatment. In a study just released on The Jama Network, researchers Ling Zhao, Jiao Chen and Ying Li, all PhDs, held a 24-week, randomized clinical trial involving nearly 250 patients with migraine without aura. The findings bolstered what acupuncturists have known all along: the use of true acupuncture significantly reduced the frequency of migraine attacks vs. “sham” acupuncture with patients being wait-listed for treatment.
The most meaningful part of this study is that it showed long-term effects rather than solely short-term effects. The study was done in China between 2012 and 2014 within outpatient settings. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 65 years old claiming to suffer from migraines between two and eight times a month.
Participants in both the true group and the control group received treatment five days a week for one month, totaling 20 sessions. Although those in the waiting-list group didn’t get any acupuncture, they were told their participation would result in 20 free sessions.
All participants in the study kept track of their migraine frequency and severity in a journal. The researchers’ goal was to reduce the attacks from baseline levels to week 16. With comparable baselines across the entire group (75% women, 25% men), it was found that the mean change in frequency of migraine attacks differed widely among the three groups at the 16-week mark after randomization.
In addition, the mean frequency of attacks declined in the true acupuncture group by 3.2, in the sham acupuncture group by 2.1, and the waiting-list group by 1.4. Overall, a greater decline was witnessed in the true acupuncture group than in the sham acupuncture group as well as the true acupuncture group over the waiting-list group.
Researchers concluded that true acupuncture for migraine treatment may play a role in long-term reduction in migraine attacks.
More research in this field should be forthcoming to further strengthen these claims. Future cures would be a welcome relief to all migraine sufferers, but particularly the four million adults who experience chronic daily migraine, with at least 15 per month.
Contact Metro Detroit Acupuncture
Entrusting your migraine relief to just any acupuncturist is foolish. In order to ensure the highest quality of care backed by experienced professionalism and skill, come to Metro Detroit Acupuncture, the area’s leading acupuncture, Chinese herbs and pain management clinic. Book your appointment by calling 248-432-2846. Marino Moutafis, the founder and owner of Metro Detroit Acupuncture, is a nationally certified acupuncturist and licensed by the Michigan Board of Acupuncture.