Chinese Medical Centre Nenagh
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Migraine and headache

 Case 1:
Patient is a 42 year old male teacher, who suffered from migraine for 35 years. He suffered severe headache attacks once a week lasting 12-24 hours. During such attacks he took analgesic drugs. These drugs provided short term relief but failed to address the more serious underlying problem. Symtoms got worse when stressed or over worked. The pain usually radiated from behind eyes, and was accompanied by muscular stiffness in face with extreme light sensitivity. After visiting Dr Jane Zhang in Dublin on Oct
26 in 2006 and recieving 12 weekly acupuncture sessions, the headaches subsided for good. The patient currently has no symptoms of migraine and is extremly happy with his treatment and in his own words, ''has a new head''.

The successful treatment of migraine may take up to 3 x 12 acupuncture sessions at a decreasing frequency 
Case 2:
37-year-old farmer visited Dr Jane Zhang at Chinese Medical Centre in Nenagh on February 3 in 2009 suffering from the spasm and pulsation of the head since 1996. The patient had been taking "propranolol" capsules (80mg per day) for 8 years which provided temporary relief for the head pulsation. Due to side effects the patient reduced the medication dose to 50mg with the result that severe spasms and pulsation returned. After undergoing acupuncture treatment and with regular aftercare acupuncture (6 per annum) this patient was able to reduce his medication to 10mg per day with total relief from symtoms.
Case 3:
A 55-year-old female had suffered from headache for 10 years, with the symtoms worsening in the last 4 years. The focus of the pain was on the top of head accompanied by stiffness of neck and shoulder, poor memory, poor concentration, tiredness and sleeping disorder. Headaches were most severe in morning time and worsened with intake of certain foodstuff such as wheat, gluten, chocolate, sugar, alcchol. In January 2011, after undergoing 6 sessions of acupuncture, the symptems had dispeared.

a severe headache, typically lasting 4 - 72 hours, accompanied by visual disturbances and/or nausea and vomiting. Migraine attacks may be isolated or may recur at varying interavals. There is no single cause of migraine, although it tends to run in families. Stress-related, food-related, sensory-related factors may trigger migraine.Diagnosis is usually made from the history and a physical examination. Treatment for an attack is an analgesic drug such as aspirin or paracetamol. But it is temporary to relieve pain. the pain always come back again and again. Acupuncture can help migraine, relieve the pain quickly, and can reduce times of attacks till the pain has gone.

So don't feel that you're stuck with it (Migraine) - you don't have to put up with pain- it might be quicker and easier than you thought to get the spring back in your step.--thinking about Acupuncture!

Certain things that can set off migraine in some people include the following:

1.Certain food such as coffee which you may be sensitive to. Although some people find that coffee helps migraines by constricting blood vessels, the blood vessels can swell beyond their original size causeing an even worse rebound headache.
2.certain chemicals that occur naturally in foods. The chemicals that most commonly trigger migraine are tyramine and other amines. Amines can trigger migraine
because they are vasoactive substances that act directly on small blood vessels to expand their capacity.
3.Strong or unusual odors, bright lights or loud noises.
4.Changes in weather or altitude.
5.Being tried, stressed or depressed or the let-down after a stressful event.
6.Changes in sleeping patterns or sleeping time.
7.Menstrual periods, birth control pills or hormone change.
8.Side effect of some medical treatments.

You can do allergy testing
to find out some food which you are reactive to.Try to avoid foods or other things that seem to cause problems for you. Using a decaffeinated coffee substitute instead. Get plenty of sleep. Try to relax and reduce the stress in your life.

The migraine elimination diet is a testing diet. It is unrealistic to permanently eliminate these foods from the diet. After learning what the offending food groups are, additional testing can be done with different quantities to learn how much of each food will cause symptoms.This way, a person will know what their limits are and still be able to enjoy eating these foods.

Acupuncture Superior to Drug Therapy for Migraines

Study Highlights the "Exceptional Usefulness" of Treatment

According to the National Headache Foundation, as many as 28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches each year. Migraines can be caused by a variety of physical and environmental factors, including diet, stress, allergens, menstruation, and changes in the weather.

They can last from a few minutes to several days, which in some cases may completely incapacitate the person suffering an attack.

Figure I:

Total migraine symptoms at baseline, six and 12 months after initial treatment.

 Migraine headaches are also one of the leading causes of time missed from work. It is estimated that migraine sufferers lose more than 157 million workdays each year, leading to a loss of approximately 50 billion dollars per year due to absenteeism and medical expenses caused by headache. An additional four billion dollars a year is spent on pain relievers for migraines and other headaches, but many of these remedies either do not work as needed, or simply mask an underlying condition.

In one of the largest studies of its kind to date, a team of investigators in Italy examined the effectiveness of acupuncture versus a variety of pharmacological therapies in treating migraines. Their results, published in a recent issue of the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine,2 revealed that patients given acupuncture experienced fewer migraine episodes, missed fewer days from work, and suffered no side effects compared to patients on conventional drug therapy. They also found acupuncture to be more cost-efficient, estimating a savings of hundreds of millions of dollars in private and social health expenditures if it were used to treat headaches alone instead of drugs. 

Figure II:

Average per-patient migraine values at baseline, six and 12 months after initial treatment.

A total of 120 subjects with a history of migraine headaches (without aura) were divided into two treatment groups of 60 patients each. The first group was treated with acupuncture (a maximum of three courses of 10 treatments twice a week, with a one-week break between each course). Acupuncture needles were applied to five points -- ST8; GB5; GB20; GV14; and LU7 -- with practitioners using the reducing method.

The second group of patients received drug therapy consisting of two or three treatments using a variety of pharmaceutical products (flunarizine; nimodipine; dihydroergotamine; lisuride; sumatriptam; or amitriptiline). A subgroup of pharmaceutical patients received a drug called longastatine, along with electrical stimulation.

All patients received a 30-minute medical examination at the beginning of the study, with 15-minute examinations at intervals of three, six and 12 months. For the month prior to the start of care, and for 12 months following the first course of treatment, patients were also given a set of monthly time-sheets and asked to track several criteria, including the duration and severity of symptoms; general psychological and physical condition; side-effects; and work absences.

Figure III:

Total work absences at baseline, six and 12 months after initial treatment.

 To measure the daily impact of migraines, the researchers assigned values to the frequency, duration and severity of migraine symptoms. One unit of value was noted for each hour a patient had a migraine. If the migraine caused moderate pain, another unit was added; if the pain was intense, two units were added. Another unit was added if the migraine lowered the patient's quality of life during that hour; two units were added if the patient became bedridden because of the condition. At the end of each month, the units were totaled and expressed as a negative number, indicating the extent to which a patient's quality of life had been affected by migraine attacks.


Statistical analysis of the groups found that acupuncture improved the symptoms of migraine without aura "more significantly" than any type of pharmacological therapy. Total symptom scores in the acupuncture group dropped more than 7,800 points from the start of study to six months after the first treatment; in comparison, scores in the drug therapy group dropped less than 4,500. Twelve months after the start of the study, total symptoms scores for patients using drug therapy were still nearly twice those compared to subjects treated with acupuncture (see Figure I).

Figure IV:

Side-effects experienced by drug therapy vs. acupuncture patients.

These variations were also seen on an individual patient basis (see Figures II and III). Six months after receiving their first treatment, the average migraine value for a patient in the drug therapy group was 65.45, a reduction of nearly 46% from the start of care. For those in the acupuncture group, however, the results were even more dramatic: the average acupuncture patient's migraine values decreased nearly 80%, from 163.72 at the start of the study to just 33.17 six months later. Acupuncture patients also experienced considerably fewer absences from work in the second six months of treatment compared to drug therapy patients.

One of the most significant aspects of the study was that even though patients were asked to document any side-effects from treatment, none were reported by participants in the acupuncture group. According to the investigators, "no negative sign was highlighted" by subjects receiving acupuncture, leading to the conclusion that "the total absence of side-effects after acupuncture treatment can be affirmed."

Patients in the drug therapy group did not appear to fare as well (see Figure IV). Of the 60 patients given pharmaceuticals, over three-quarters - 47 - reported side-effects ranging from nausea and diarrhea to flatulence and burning sensations. For instance, 16 of the 19 patients given flunarizine reported an unwanted weight gain of 3-4 kilograms; all 19 patients taking supatriptam, meanwhile, complained of difficulty breathing, nausea, stuffiness in the chest, and occasional vomiting.

In addition to patient values and pain scores, the researchers performed a cost-comparison of acupuncture and drug therapy, including the social costs for care (supported by the National Health Service); the cost to industry (due to absence from work); and the total private costs (paid by private citizens). The total costs for the acupuncture group were nearly 80 million lira less than expenditures for the drug therapy group (see Table I).

Table I: Comparison of social, private and total costs for acupuncture and drug therapy groups. Social costs are obtained by adding the costs of the National Health Service to the total cost of absences from work. One U.S. dollar equaled approximately 1,632 Italian lira at the time of the study.
Type of cost     Period               Cost of acupuncture group(in lira)    Cost of drug therapy group (in lira)

National          First 6 months      Lit 288,721                                         Lit 24,197,404
Health            Second 6 months  Lit (-)829,524                                     Lit 393,340
Service           year                     Lit (-)540,803                                     Lit 24,590,744

Absence         First 6 months       Lit 136,333,000                                   Lit 146,331,000
from               Second 6 months  Lit 28,207,000                                    Lit 72,931,000
work              Year                     Lit 164,540,000                                   Lit 219,262,000

Social costs     Year                     Lit 163,999,197                                    Lit 243,852,744

Private costs   First 6 months      Lit 21,228,320                                      Lit 16,581,650
                     Second 6 months  Lit 1,449,640                                       Lit 6,179,850
                     Year                     Lit 22,677,960                                      Lit 22,761,500
Total              Year                     Lit 186,677,157                                    Lit 266,614,244

The researchers then extrapolated the information gleaned from the two groups and applied that data to the total number of patients in Italy affected by migraines without aura (approximately 800,000) to determine the costs if every migraine patient were treated with just acupuncture or just pharmaceuticals. The results were overwhelmingly positive for acupuncture, with an estimated cost savings of more than a trillion lira (approximately $653 million in U.S. currency at the time of the study) compared to drug therapy.

Table II: Projected cost savings for migraine patients, acupuncture vs. drug therapy.
Costs                                         acupuncture Group                     Drug Therapy Group
National Health Service              Lit (-) 7,210,400,000                      Lit 327,876,800, 000
Absence from work                   Lit 2, 193,867,200,000                    Lit 2,923,493,600,000
Total Social cost                         Lit 2,186,656,800,000                     Lit 3,251,370,400,000
Privat cost                                 Lit 302,372,800,000                        Lit 303,486,400,000
Total cost                                  Lit 2,489,029,600,000                      Lit 3,554,856,800,000
Projected total surplus               Lit 1,065,827,200,000(appx. $654 million US)


While the value of acupuncture has gained a grudging acceptance by members of the medical community, few studies have examined the socioeconomic aspects of acupuncture compared to more "conventional" forms of care. The JTCM study addresses that issue while providing the groundwork for larger, more tightly controlled studies.

"Up to now, there has been neither precise data about these savings to the public, nor about the lack of risks for the patients treated with acupuncture for common diseases with a social cost," the investigators noted in their conclusion. "Today, thanks to this study, we have precise data which prove the exceptional usefulness of acupuncture."

The study also indicates that, contrary to those who would like to pigeonhole acupuncture into the realm of pain relief (and little else), it can do much more than just treat a painful condition. If research is conducted professionally and treatment is applied properly, acupuncture's reach can extend beyond the walls of a clinic or pain center to have a positive effect on a nation's social and financial well-being as well.


1.NHF Headache Facts. Available from the National Headache Foundation (

2. Liguori A, Petti F, Bangrazi A, Camaioni D, Guccione G, Pitari GM, Bianchi A, Nicoletti WE. Comparison of pharmacological treatment versus acupuncture treatment for migraine without aura - analysis of sociomedical parameters. J Tradit Chin Med 2000;20(3):231-40.

Acupuncture Today
April, 2001, Vol. 02, Issue 04

Migraine and headache
Pain and Stiffness (Neck and Shoulder)
Stress and Anxiety
Sinusitis and Rhinitis
Pain and Stiffness ( Lower back)
Frozen shoulder
Trigeminal Neuralgia
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