C2 Peripheral Nerve Electroacupuncture Effectively Treats Primary Headache

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Peripheral nerve field stimulation with electroacupuncture may represent a less invasive mode of treating primary headache.
Peripheral nerve field stimulation with electroacupuncture may represent a less invasive mode of treating primary headache.

Electroacupuncture peripheral nerve field stimulation of the C2 dermatome (EA-C2-PNfS) can reduce severity and disability for patients with primary headache, according to results published in Neuromodulation.

The study included participants with primary headache (n=54) who underwent EA-C2-PNfS for 3 months. The researchers used questionnaires to assess pain intensity (11-point numeric rating scale), quality of daily life (Headache Impact Test-6), and depression (Self-Rating Depression Scale). Participants kept diaries to track monthly headache days and acute headache medication days.

The EA-C2-PNfS reduced participants' headache intensity significantly, with numeric rating scale pain scores declining from 7.4±1.9 at baseline to 4.9±2.9 at 3 months (P <.001). Headache Impact Test-6 scores also improved significantly from 64.1±6.3 at baseline to 57.8 ±7.9 at 3 months (P <.001).

Monthly headache days decreased significantly from 18.0±9.0 at 1 month to 14.0±10.2 at 3 months (P < .001). Monthly acute headache medication days also decreased significantly from 8.0±6,7 at 1 month to 6.4±6.5 at 3 months (P =.003).

Before treatment with EA-C2-PNfS, some participants reported moderate depression on the Self-Rating Depression Scale. This was alleviated in participants with tension-type headaches after 3 months of treatment.

“EA-C2-PNfS is a favorable treatment option for medically intractable primary headache as a low-invasive method of neuromodulation,” the authors concluded.

Reference

Ishiyama S, Shibata Y, Ayuzawa S, Matsushita A, Matsumara A. Clinical effect of C2 peripheral nerve field stimulation using electroacupuncture for primary headache [published online March 22, 2018]. Neuromodulation. doi:10.1111/ner.12772

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