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Acupuncture for Migraine by Guest Writer Rida Farhan, MBBS

Updated: Jun 27

Acupuncture is performed by applying needles or pressure into the skin at specific points. It is a traditional form of Chinese medicine and is increasingly being used to treat chronic migraines without aura. The way it helps to relieve migraine pain is by increasing certain brain metabolites that are involved in the transmission of pain. Frequent sessions of acupuncture (minimum 6-8) have proven to be effective. Here are a few other benefits of acupuncture:

  1. Reduced migraine frequency

Not only has research shown acupuncture to reduce the number of migraines, it also decreases the duration and severity of the attacks.

  1. Alternative to pharmacological treatments

Using acupuncture as an adjuvant therapy has also helped decrease medication use and according to preliminary data, someday may even be considered as first-line agent for migraine prevention.

  1. Improved depression and anxiety

Migraine is often accompanied by depression and anxiety due to the disability it causes. Acupuncture users compared to non-users have reported significant decrease in anxiety, depression and medical expenditures.

  1. Fewer adverse effects

Acupuncture is a well-tolerated, safe and available option for patients and has fewer side effects as compared to Botox and medications.

  1. Improved quality of life

Higher quality of life scores were seen in patients receiving acupuncture in as little as one month after treatment when compared to those who did not receive acupuncture.


Urits I, Patel M, Putz ME, Monteferrante NR, Nguyen D, An D, Cornett EM, Hasoon J, Kaye AD, Viswanath O. Acupuncture and Its Role in the Treatment of Migraine Headaches. Neurol Ther. 2020 Dec;9(2):375-394. doi: 10.1007/s40120-020-00216-1.

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