Acupuncture for Migraine: a Review of the Data and Clinical Insights

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2020 May 29;24(7):32. doi: 10.1007/s11916-020-00864-w.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to discuss the current evidence for acupuncture in migraine and to provide insight into which patients may benefit most from acupuncture.

Recent findings: Multiple studies support acupuncture as a validated modality for the prevention of episodic migraine. While small studies on acupuncture for the prevention of chronic migraine are encouraging, evidence for its benefit is limited. Likewise, the existing studies on acupuncture for acute migraine treatment are insufficient. Acupuncture is commonly used to treat migraine and has gained popularity as a validated non-pharmaceutical option. Although the specific mechanisms of acupuncture are not clearly understood, there is evidence for its effectiveness in treating migraine. Results of acupuncture studies are quite variable and depend on multiple factors, including frequency, duration, and consistency of treatments, as well as acupoint selection. A better understanding of the flaws inherent in acupuncture research will help guide the development of future studies.

Keywords: Acupuncture; Complementary and integrative medicine; Migraine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Acupuncture, Ear / methods
  • Acute Disease
  • Chronic Disease
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Migraine Disorders / therapy*