Acupuncture for chronic tension headaches
Updated: May 19
Over many years working as an acupuncturist, I have treated many people who complain of chronic headaches and I know that the pain and discomfort from this condition can have a huge impact on a person’s life. There can be many factors that contribute to chronic tension headaches such as food, stress and poor posture. Patients often present with considerable muscular tension, including neck and shoulders. Tight muscles may have trigger points which refer pain into the head and there is often dysfunction at the upper cervical joints at the top of the neck. At Bowen Hills Acupuncture and Remedial Therapies, we provide a thorough consultation and treatment plan for you, including various treatment options which may include acupuncture, electroacupuncture, remedial massage and cupping to provide pain relief and prevent the headaches from reoccurring. Appointments for our Brisbane clinic can be made online or contact Ken for any enquiries.
Is acupuncture effective for treating chronic tension headaches?
Yes, the overview of the scientific literature shows evidence that acupuncture has a positive effect for frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches. The latest Cochrane review (1) reviewed the available acupuncture research on chronic tension-type headache and found that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches.
Other research (2) conducted in the UK and Germany has shown acupuncture to be a cost-effective treatment for several different types of chronic headache disorders. In the UK, acupuncture has been included in the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE) clinical guidelines for headache treatment since 2012. (3)
1) Linde, K., Allais, G., Brinkhaus, B., Fei, Y., Mehring, M., Shin, B.-C., … White, A. R. (2016). Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://www.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd007587.pub2
2) Coeytaux RR, Befus D. Role of Acupuncture in the Treatment or Prevention of Migraine, Tension-Type Headache, or Chronic Headache Disorders. Headache. 2016 Jul; 56(7):1238-40. https://doi.org/10.1111/head.12857
3) National Institute for Health Care and Excellence. Management of migraine (with or without aura): NICE guideline CG150. In: National Institute for Health Care and Excellence, editor. 2012 (updated 2015). https://pathways.nice.org.uk/pathways/headaches/management-of-migraine-with-or-without-aura