From Journal ‘Headache’, 2009 Jun;49(6):805-16. Epub 2009 Apr 27.
Li Y, Liang F, Yang X, Tian X.. et al. from Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, China.
To discuss the results of a randomized controlled trial of the efficacy of acupuncture in treating acute migraine attacks.
IMPORTANT TERMINOLOGY :
Verum acupuncture – needling ‘proper acupuncture’ points
Sham Acupuncture – needling ‘non-acupuncture’ points
175 patients were randomized into three groups.
One group received verum acupuncture while subjects in the other 2 groups were treated with sham acupuncture. Each patient received 1 session of treatment and was observed over a period of 24 hours. The main outcome measure was the differences in visual analog scale (VAS) scores before treatment and 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 hours after treatment.
Significant decreases in visual analog scale (VAS) scores from baseline were observed in the 4th hour after treatment when visual analog scale (VAS) scores were measured in the patients who received either verum acupuncture or sham acupunctures (P < .05).
In the verum acupuncture group the VAS score in the 4th hour after treatment decreased by a median average of 1.0cm.
In the 1st Sham acupuncture group it decreased by 0.5cm, and in the 2nd Sham acupuncture group it decreased by 0.1cm
Similarly, there was a significant difference in the change in VAS scores from baseline in the second hour after treatment among the 3 groups (P = .006). Moreover, at the second hour after treatment, only patients treated with verum (normal) acupuncture showed significant decreases in VAS scores from baseline by a median of 0.7 cm (P < .001). Significant differences were observed in pain relief, relapse, or aggravation within 24 hours after treatment as well as in the general evaluations among the 3 groups (P < .05).
Most patients in the acupuncture group experienced complete pain relief (40.7%) and did not experience recurrence or intensification of pain (79.6%).
Verum (normal ) acupuncture treatment is more effective than sham acupuncture based on either Chinese or Western non-acupoints in reducing the discomfort of acute migraine. Verum (normal) acupuncture is also clearly effective in relieving pain and preventing migraine relapse or aggravation. These findings support the contention that there are specific physiological effects that distinguish genuine acupoints from non-acupoints.
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