Acupuncture Shown to Improve Quality of Life for Those with TBI-Related Headaches

A new study has found that acupuncture can significantly improve the quality of life for patients suffering from headaches due to a previous traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The study compared the effectiveness of usual care alone with the usual care plus either auricular or traditional Chinese acupuncture.

Auricular acupuncture had a greater overall impact on headache-related quality of life than traditional Chinese acupuncture, according to the study published in Medical Acupuncture, a peer-reviewed journal from by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

The study was conducted by Wayne Jonas, M.D., and coauthors from Samueli Institute in Alexandria, Virginia, Integrative Healing in Hyattsville, Maryland, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

The researchers recruited previously deployed members of the U.S. military who had mild to moderate TBI and headaches. Chronic or recurrent headache is reported by 80 percent of service members with TBI, the researchers noted.

Participants in the six-week study received usual care alone, or usual care plus either 10 auricular acupuncture sessions involving six to nine needled points and indwelling needles left in for up to three days, or 10 Traditional Chinese acupuncture sessions with the placement of up to 22 needles on the limbs, head, and torso.

“Chronic concussion headaches are a clinical challenge. Acupuncture appears promising to avoid the opioid gateway for these patients,” said Richard C. Niemtzow, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, Editor-in-Chief of Medical Acupuncture and Director of the United States Air Force Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine Center, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

Source: Medical Acupuncture