A Cochrane systematic review suggests that a course of acupuncture consisting of at least six treatments can be a valuable option for people with frequent tension-type headache. The international team of authors included 12 trials with 2349 adults in their updated review. They highlighted the finding in two large trials that acupuncture added to usual care (pain-killers) resulted in 48 out of 100 participants’ headache frequency reducing by more than half, compared to just 17 out of 100 participants who received usual care only. When compared with sham acupuncture (six trials), headache frequency halved in 52 of 100 participants receiving true acupuncture, compared with 43 of 100 participants receiving sham. One large, high quality trial (with about 400 participants), showed that the effect of true acupuncture was still present six months post-treatment.
Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Apr 19;4:CD007587.