Acupuncture for Migraine Only a Placebo?
The American Headache Society supports that Traditional & “Sham” Acupuncture Both Effective for Migraine Relief. In contrast, after reviewing the studies mentioned in the AHS press release, Steven Novella of NeuroLogica Blog claims that the American Headache Society Recommends Placebos for Migraine. He writes,
Studies show that sham acupuncture is as effective as true acupuncture, and Dr. Dodick concludes from this that both work. The proper scientific interpretation of this result is that the treatment (acupuncture) is no different than placebo (sham acupuncture) and therefore has only a placebo effect.
Novella’s argument is sound and I agree with his conclusions. What intrigues me is why the American Headache Society and its president, David Dodick, are touting the benefits for acupuncture when the science is weak. Is it that there are so few effective treatments for migraine that even those without strong evidence are considered worthwhile?
It reminds me of when I was considering Botox injections and was surprised to find that studies only showed minor reductions in headache days of participants. From headlines, you’d think Botox had eradicated migraine, but studies have had only modest results.
The paltry options for treating migraine and the lack of funding for migraine research are disheartening. Urge Congress to take notice by signing the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy’s petition.
Thanks to reader C. Peterson for sharing NeuroLogica Blog’s post.