In this review, at least eight weeks of observation period is required and twelve trials are included. There were 2349 participants. In two large high quality trials with 1265 and 207 participants, acupuncture was compared with routine care or treatment of acute headaches. Results have shown that the proportion of participants experiencing at least 50% reduction of headache frequency was much higher in groups receiving acupuncture than in control groups. In seven good quality trials acupuncture group had high reduction of headache frequency compared with sham acupuncture. Withdrawals were low: 1 of 420 participants receiving acupuncture dropped out due to adverse effects.
The conclusion from the data suggested that acupuncture is effective for treating frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches, but further trials - particularly comparing acupuncture with other treatment options - are needed.
Linde K et al Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2016 Apr 19;4:CD007587. [Epub ahead of print]