A study published in March 2019 demonstrated, based on previous studies (meta-analysis), that the effectiveness rate of acupuncture was much higher than that for drugs. Not only that, but in addition the side effects of patients who received acupuncture were well below those who took the drugs. All of this comes at a time when the United States is considering officially reimbursing acupuncture for curing back pain instead of opioids, which is extremely dangerous for health.
This meta-analysis demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that acupuncture is a worthwhile treatment option for those who want to use it.
What is Migraine?
Migraine is a predominant neurovascular disorder. The WHO classifies migraine as the third most common pathology and the second most disabling neurological disorder in the world. An epidemiological study of migraine in China revealed an incidence of 9.3% in the general population. Women are more vulnerable to this disease.
In addition to the damage caused by the disease itself, migraine sufferers have a higher probability of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease (ischemic stroke) than people without migraine, especially women and the elderly. The ‘migraineur’ is also likely to suffer from multiple diseases such as epilepsy, depression and affective disorders. Migraine is a heavy burden for the family and society. As a result, the prevention and treatment of migraine has become urgent.
Analgesic and prophylactic oral medications are currently the main treatment for migraine. Initial acute treatment includes NSAIDs, barbiturates, opioids, triptans and ergotamine, while β-blockers, calcium channel blockers, antiepileptics and antidepressants are suggested during remission to reduce frequency, severity and duration of migraine. Medications can relieve pain to some degree, but are easy to recruit and have various side effects, including nausea and vomiting, somnipathy, obesity, and headaches caused by overuse of drugs.
The Advantage of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a traditional therapy used for thousands of years in China to treat headaches. A Cochrane systematic review showed that acupuncture can reduce the frequency of migraines. A 24-week RCT conducted by Liang FR and her colleague published on JAMA in 2017 indicated that acupuncture can reduce the number of migraine attacks significantly. A randomised clinical trial with 6 weeks of treatment followed by one year by Wang LP and his colleague revealed that acupuncture can reduce pain in the short term, while reducing the frequency of migraine and the duration of pain to long term.
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