Research Paper: Acupuncture &amp Migraines Can Be so Severe

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Acupuncture & Migraines

Migraines can be so severe they become debilitating. They interrupt the daily living activities of people and in some cases can actually cause the individual to become violently ill. What is the most beneficial method for a woman to treat her migraines? Is acupuncture an appropriate method to bring good health to a woman who is having terrible migraine attacks? Or is traditional medication the best way for her to go? What are the side effects of acupuncture and of traditional medications? This paper examines those issues and presents a summary of the findings. The reason this topic was chosen: the number of people that suffer from migraines is significant, and the apparent lack of appropriate strategies to reduce the pain from migraines is problematic for those individuals that are suffering. Hence, the need for a thorough research paper to determine how healthier outcomes could be achieved for those with migraines.

Methods: The methods used in This paper include researching databases for scholarly, peer-reviewed articles that report empirical studies relative to this important topic. The databases used include EBSCOHost, and GALE Cengage Learning Power Search. I limited my search to those journal articles that contained empirical investigations and results; each article chosen employed a different set of variables and tested acupuncture combined with prescription medications or just acupuncture alone. The articles I located that pertain precisely to the issue I am researching are presented here:

One) Reporting of Clinical Details in Randomized Controlled Trials of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Migraine/Headaches and Nausea/Vomiting (Claraco, et al.); the study was published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2003. This is an empirical-based study that investigated 30 randomized control trials to determine the "degree of reporting of clinical details" in those trials.

Two) Traditional Acupuncture in Migraine: A Controlled, Randomized Study (Facco, et al., 2008); this was published in Headache: The Journal of Head & Face Pain. This research reports a study of 127 patients that were suffering from migraines "without aura" (aura refers to unusual symptoms that for some migraine sufferers appear prior to the actual migraine); they were divided into 4 groups, some tested with "true acupuncture" (TA) and the drug Rizatriptan and others with various combinations of TA and Rizatriptan.

Three) Acupuncture for Treating Acute Attacks of Migraine: A Randomized Controlled Trial (Ying, et al., 2009). This was published in Headache: The Journal of Head & Face Pain, and the authors used 175 patients and divided them into 3 groups. One group received "verum acupuncture" (14 to 20 needles are inserted 1-1/2 inches deep) and two groups received "sham acupuncture" (needles are inserted randomly and not as deeply as with verum acupuncture).

Four) Long-Term, Open-Label Safety Study of Oral Almotriptan 12.5 mg for the Acute Treatment of Migraine in Adolescents; this appeared in Headache: The Journal of Head & Face Pain. The authors do not give a total number of individuals used in the research, but they were adolescents (ages 12 to 17) and the study was conducted over a 12-month period using the medication almotriptan.

Five) The Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Chronic Daily Headache: An Outcomes Study (Plank, et al., 2009). This article was published in Military Medicine and it mentions that up to 34.9% of female soldiers and 17.4% of male soldiers are known to suffer from frequent migraines. The study used 26 "subjects" that had been suffering from "chronic daily" migraines, and the research encompassed a twelve week period before the acupuncture and a twelve week period following acupuncture.

Name of study

Target Population

Study Design

Outcome Measured

Statistical Outcome

Side Effects

Study Limitations

The Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Chronic Daily Headache: An Outcomes Study

Military personnel that had been suffering from chronic daily headaches

Each of the 26 subjects received 8 sterile, disposable, steel acupuncture needles in a 30-minute session twice a week for 4 weeks

The effects of the pain reduction remained below baseline 12 weeks after the last acupuncture treatment

The days that migraines impacted soldiers prior to treatment (61); days of impact after treatment (37).

Patients reported pain, bruising, bleeding (19 times), anxiety, fatigue (10 times); nausea (7 times); insomnia (1)

Only 26 individuals were used in this research; and a soldier may not be considered a typical working person

Name of Study

Target Population

Study Design

Outcome measured

Statistical Outcome

Side Effects

Study Limitations

Long-Term, Open-Label Safety Study of Oral Almotriptan 12.5 mg for the Acute Treatment of Migraine in Adolescents

The study involved adolescents between the ages of 12-17; 447 adolescents took part

The participants were asked to record migraines, the frequency of taking almotriptan and the results from the medication

The use of almotriptan was "well tolerated" by the adolescents over a 12-month period;

Pain-free for 40.5% of treated migraines @ 2 hours & 65% of treated migraines @ 24 hrs were pain free

282 suffered 1 or more "adverse effect" (AE); 8 had "serious" AE's but none of the AE's were related to Almotriptan

The study involved adolescents only; it would be interesting to learn how almotriptan works on older people

Name of Study

Target Population

Study Design

Outcome Measured

Statistical Outcome

Side Effects

Study Limitations

Acupuncture for Treating Acute Attacks of Migraine: A Randomized Controlled Trial

175 individuals with migraines were recruited in 3 groups to receive either verum acupuncture or sham acupuncture

One group received verum acupuncture and 2 other groups got sham acupuncture; each patient received 1 treatment and was observed over a 24-hour period; the outcome measure was the difference in visual analog scale (VAS) before treatment and 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 hours following treatment

Significant decreases in the VAS (scale for measurement of pain) were observed for both sham and verum acupuncture in the 4th hour after treatment; there was also a decrease of VAS in the 2nd hour after treatment

In the 4th hour the VAS scores went down by a median of 1.0 cm, and 0.1 cm in the verum group, in sham group 1 and sham group 2; all three groups experienced a reduction in VAS in the 2nd hour; in the 2nd hour only verum group members had reduced VAS of 0.7 cm; all 3 groups experienced pain relief, but verum proved more effective than sham

No noticeable side effects were reported in this study

There was a lack of "comparable baseline values 4 weeks before randomization and there was a difference in the "duration of disease among subjects" which presents somewhat skewed outcomes between the control groups

Name of Study

Target Population

Study Design

Outcome Measured

Statistical Outcome

Side Effects

Study Limitations

Traditional Acupuncture in Migraine: A Controlled, Randomized Study

160 patients who had suffered from migraines (without aura) were part of the study; all were "homogeneous as regards sex and age…"

A randomized / controlled study over 6 months (twice a week); group #1 received "true" acupuncture + Rizatriptan; #2 got "ritualized mock acupuncture" and Rizatriptan; #3 got "standard mock acupuncture plus Rizatriptan; #4 got just the drug

All groups experienced a decrease of migraine pain at 3 months and at 6 months but the group with "true acupuncture and Rizatriptan offered a "significant improvement" at both 3 months and 6 months

The reduction of pain after 3 months and 6 months averaged out to a 36% reduction; the only group that got long-lasting effects was the true acupuncture group; the group that only got the drug saw improvement (P>.0001) while

Some of the participants dropped out due to other complications not related to migraine headaches

There was no questionnaire presented at the conclusion of the study which "may be a limit of the study"

Name of Study

Target Population

Study Design

Outcome Measured

Statistical outcome

Side Effects

Study Limitations

Reporting of Clinical Details in Randomized Controlled Trials of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Migraine / Headaches and Nausea / Vomiting

This was a study of 30 previously conducted trials using acupuncture and involved patients in a number of different contexts

The authors were actually investigating how well the 30 trials reported the clinical details on acupuncture efficacy; authors used a checklist of 50 clinical details they hoped to find in studies they investigated

The study of these 30 trials using acupuncture showed that on average 38.7% of "important clinical details" for each of 30 trials were either fully or partially reported

The lowest number of important clinical details found in the 30 trials was 26.4%; only 16.7% of trial studies gave reliable info; just 13.3% showed clinical significance

Side effects of the 30 clinical trials were not reported in this paper

The study did not attempt to assess the actual clinical quality or appropriateness of the measure, but simply noted either the presence or absence of the reporting of those issues

Discussion / Results: did the scholarly articles answer the PICO question? Actually the five articles did not definitively address the question but rather they reviewed research relative to the question. I would appear however, that acupuncture -- with,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Acupuncture &amp Migraines Can Be so Severe.  (2011, December 9).  Retrieved December 7, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/acupuncture-migraines-severe/8152129

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"Acupuncture &amp Migraines Can Be so Severe."  Essaytown.com.  December 9, 2011.  Accessed December 7, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/acupuncture-migraines-severe/8152129.