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Acupuncture for tension-type headaches and migraine

Abstract

Headache is one of the most frequent reasons for medical consultation in both general practice and neurology clinics.1 Tension-type headaches occur in up to around 80% and migraine occurs in about 15% of the UK adult population.1,2 Prescribed and over the counter-medications are taken to alleviate headaches and migraine, but may be used incorrectly.3 In particular, use of some drugs both frequently and regularly can have a paradoxical effect, causing headaches rather than relieving them, and leading to medication overuse headache.4 Acupuncture, which is usually provided privately by an independent acupuncturist,5 is increasingly being used in the NHS, particularly for painful conditions, such as headache.68 Here we consider whether acupuncture has a place in the management of patients with tension-type headaches or migraine.

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