Acupuncture for Headache: Possible Clinical Improvements-Analysis of Two Typical Case Reports

Med Acupunct. 2018 Aug 1;30(4):204-208. doi: 10.1089/acu.2018.1269.


Background: Various types of headache comprise a widespread health problem. Among the possible treatment options, acupuncture is one of the most effective, with the least number of adverse effects. While the locations of acupuncture points have long been established, slight and specific modifications in point locations, as well as needling angles and depths in each individual case, can increase the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment for some types of headaches. Cases: Two typical "cases," which are composites of several similar cases, are discussed. One case is a 31-year-old Caucasian woman with persistent headaches for 8 months and the other case is a 52-year-old Caucasian woman with frequent headaches for years. In both cases, usual care provided only temporary relief; acupuncture treatment was more effective. Results: The patients' headaches went away-as they usually do for months or even years after only several treatments, provided that the acupuncture practitioner finds the points to stimulate that can reproduce each individual patient's exact symptoms of his or her headache. Conclusions: In treatment of headaches, the effectiveness of acupuncture can be increased if the acupuncture practitioner identifies, or modifies, the point selection and/or location to identify active points. As the acupuncture practitioner examines the active points, he or she can monitor the treatment's progress by palpating the points while observing and communicating with the patient about whether or not the headache is being reproduced.

Keywords: De Qi; acupuncture; headache; local twitch response; myofascial trigger points; palpation; palpatory skills.