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J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2018 Oct;11(5):296-302. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2018.07.003. Epub 2018 Jul 27.

Effectiveness of Acupuncture as Auxiliary Treatment for Chronic Headache.

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CEUMA University, São Luís, Maranhão, Brazil. Electronic address:
Federal University of Maranhão, São Luís, Maranhão, Brazil.
CEUMA University, São Luís, Maranhão, Brazil.



To assess the effectiveness of acupuncture as an auxiliary analgesic treatment for chronic headaches and the influence of this treatment on the quality of life, as the effectiveness of acupuncture in chronic headache is still controversial.


Thirty-four patients selected from a University Hospital Clinic on Chronic Pain were divided into two groups: True acupuncture (Group 1), in which the recommended points of the Traditional Chinese Medicine were used for each type of headache and sham acupuncture (Group 2), in which the needles were inserted into a device (the stick-on moxa), at the same points as Group 1. Both groups used the prescribed preventive medication for pain. The verbal numeric scale before (VNS0) and after (VNS1) treatment, the number of crisis, and the number of analgesics used during the first and second months of treatment were used for assessment. Quality of life was also assessed before and after treatment with the Brazilian version of the Quality of Life Questionnaire: SF-6D, 2002.


The true acupuncture group showed greater effectiveness in controlling pain in chronic headache, which was statistically significant in all domains compared to the sham acupuncture group, including quality of life.


Acupuncture can be considered an auxiliary treatment for chronic headache, reducing the intensity of pain, the number of crisis, the quantity of analgesics used, and improving the quality of life in patients with this painful condition.


Acupuncture; Headache; Pain; Quality of life

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