New recommendation from NICE: Acupuncture proven to treat tension-type headaches and migraine

Information released by NICE (National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence) today reported medication overuse is one of the most common causes of headaches affecting about one in 50 people.

NICE conclude that acupuncture is the only proven method to prevent tension-type headaches and migraine and that doctors should prescribe it http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=2079

Up to a million people in the UK have “completely preventable” severe headaches caused by taking too many painkillers, doctors have said.

“Medication overuse headaches” feel the same as other common headaches or migraines. While painkillers would be many people’s instant response, they could be making sufferers feel even worse.

Prof Martin Underwood, from Warwick Medical School, who led the NICE panel, said: “This can end up getting into a vicious cycle where your headache gets worse, so you take more painkillers, so your headache gets worse and this just becomes worse and worse and worse.

“It is such an easy thing to prevent.”

Acupuncture

The guidelines also include a recommendation for acupuncture in patients susceptible to migraine and tension headaches.

“We would expect that to lead to more people getting acupuncture, but given there is good evidence to show this is effective for the prevention of both tension-type and migraine-type headaches then that is a good thing because people are getting access to an effective treatment,” Prof Martin Underwood said.

The chief executive of the Migraine Trust, Wendy Thomas, said: “The guideline will assist with accurate diagnosis, appropriate referral and evidence-based information for those with troublesome and disabling headaches.

“People with disabling migraine will experience improved quality of life as a result of this guideline.”