The fact acupuncture is an effective treatment for headaches and migraines is not news for us. We have been effectively applying medical acupuncture techniques alongside our Physiotherapy practise for many years, with excellent results.
I am currently managing a lady in her mid forties, a real achiever and very driven in the workplace who suffers from chronic muscular tension type headaches for many years.
It took 4 sessions of weekly medical acupuncture in combination with some gentle postural exercises to bring her symptoms under control and we now do ‘top up’ sessions every 4 weeks.
It is important to do the ‘top up’ session before the pain and headache symptoms start to build up again. In this client's case we have worked out that 4 week intervals works best, however this may be longer or shorter for others. Although she still requires the odd tablet for pain relief on occasion, the use of regular analgesia has reduced considerably which obviously has additional health benefits.
It is nice (no pun intended) to see the new NICE guidelines include acupuncture as a treatment for headaches including tension type headache and migraines. The NICE crowd are the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, a UK based body who provide up to date evidence based guidelines on how to treat medical conditions. We now have further good research evidence to support the effects we have been achieving in the clinic for many years.
A recent article in the BBC News Site talks more about this and how painkillers may actually be causing some of the problems.
For doctors or chartered physiotherapists interested in attending a medical acupuncture course by the BMAS on the treatment of headaches using medical acupuncture, please visit here - BMAS
By Simon Coghlan MSc, BSc Hons, DipMedAc, MISCP
Simon holds a Master of Science Degree in Physiotherapy and is a member of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists. A post graduate Diploma in Medical Acupuncture entitles him to accredited membership of the British Medical Acupuncture Society. Simon specialises in the integration of medical acupuncture techniques with manual therapy and therapeutic exercise for the treatment of musculo-skeletal pain and dysfunction.