Acupuncture Services in London

Acupuncture for Cluster Headaches

How Does Acupuncture Stop Cluster Headaches?

Acupuncture may help to relieve cluster headaches by:

  • Providing pain relief - by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurochumoral factors and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Zhao 2008, Zijlstra 2003, Pomeranz, 1987)

  • Reducing inflammation - by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003)

  • Reducing the degree of cortical spreading depression (an electrical wave in the brain associated with Cluster Headache) and plasma levels of calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P (both implicated in the pathophysiology of Cluster Headache) (Shi 2010)

  • Improving circulation by modulating extracranial and intracranial blood flow (Park 2009)

  • Affecting serotonin (5-hydroxytriptamine) levels in the brain (Zhong 2007)(Serotonin may be linked to the initiation of Cluster Headaches; 5-HT agonists (triptans) are used against acute attacks.)


    Acupuncture for Cluster Headache Research

    The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), who make decisions based on clinical evidence have reported that acupuncture is effective for the prevention ot tension-type headaches and migraine, and that doctors should prescribe it.

    Evidence from the most up-to-date and highest quality systematic review showed that there are clinically relevant benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of headaches.

    Sun and Gan (2008) found acupuncture better than sham, and also better than medication, for headache intensity and frequency.

    Acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules.

    The resulting biochemical changes influence the body's homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.

    Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress (Hui 2010)

    The aim of acupuncture treatments at The London Acupuncture Space is to stop pain, reduce the frequency, severity, and duration of cluster headaches.

    Acupuncture for Cluster Headache References

    Becker C et al. Headache incidence, comorbidity and health resource utilization in the UK. Cephalalgia 2008;28:57-64.

    IHS 2004. Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The International Classification of Headache Disorders: 2nd edition. Cephalalgia 2004;24:1-160.

    Managing Headache. Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin 1998;36:41-44

    Olesen J et al. Funding of Headache research in Europe. Cephalalgia 2007;27:995-9.

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