THURSDAY, June 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) — An eight-week true acupuncture (TA) treatment is effective for chronic tension-type headache (CTTH), according to a study published online June 22 in Neurology.

Hui Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., from Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial involving 218 participants diagnosed with CTTH, who were recruited from June 2017 to September 2020, to examine the effectiveness of acupuncture. Participants in the intervention group (110 participants) received 20 sessions of TA, each lasting 30 minutes, over eight weeks, with each acupuncture site needled to achieve deqi sensation. Participants in the control group (108 participants) received the same sessions and treatment frequency of superficial acupuncture (SA) designed as a sham control avoiding deqi sensation at each acupuncture site.

The researchers found that the responder rate, defined as the proportion of participants who reported at least a 50 percent reduction in the monthly number of headache days (MHDs), was 68.2 and 48.1 percent in the TA and SA groups, respectively, at week 16 (odds ratio, 2.65) and was 68.2 and 50 percent, respectively, at week 32 (odds ratio, 2.4). The reduction in MHDs was 13.1 and 8.8 days in the TA and SA groups, respectively, at week 16 and 14 and 9.5 days, respectively, at week 32.

“While this study showed that acupuncture can reduce headaches, more research is needed to determine the longer-term effectiveness of acupuncture and how it compares to other treatment options,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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