Treatment of Migraine in Clinical Practice in China - A Literature Review

By Lin Guo


Abstract Migraine is a common, painful headache disorder that affects a large quantity of the population. For sufferers, it often impacts negatively both on their physical and financial states, as a result of having time off work. Western Doctors use medication to manage migraine patients with mixed results. Even though well managed, many people are concerned about the side effects of the medication or the possibility of long term adverse effects, and are looking for options offered outside mainstream medicine. Acupuncture is a widespread form of complementary medicine, both in China and the UK. There are numerous studies showing positive results on migraine treatment. The purpose of this research is to identify special acupuncture strategies of migraine treatment that are used in China but maybe rarely used in the west, which could potentially benefit western practitioners. This study uses a systematic literature review to search special Chinese acupuncture strategies to treat migraines. The articles‘ results are evaluated using the STRICTA Checklist to assess treatment quality, and Van Tulder et al.‘s Eleven-Point list to evaluate methodology quality. Twenty six studies met the inclusion criteria, where seven were evaluated as adequate treatment and high methodology quality, three had low methodology quality but adequate treatment, five have high methodology quality but their treatment quality was low, eleven had multiple low qualities of both methodology and treatment. Therefore, the conclusion is that some special acupuncture techniques practiced by Chinese practitioners in China to treat migraine had mixed results, where certain techniques displayed valid effectiveness. The result also shows that these special acupuncture strategies have theoretical evidence in Classics. More translations of Classics into English may provide westerners with a deeper insight. However, journals published in English are scarce. Therefore, more journals published in English could enable swift exchange of new acupuncture techniques internationally.