Acupuncture is cost effective for headache (Kim 2012)(1)

A potentially important role for acupuncture as part of a treatment plan for migraine, tension-type headache, and several different types of chronic headache disorders. Cost-effective in Germany and UK (Coeytaux 2016 – Brief review of selected SRs and MAs)(2)

Acupuncture can reduce workplace headache pain intensity, frequency and related disability; low quality evidence (Lardon 2016 – SR of 15 RCTs)(3)

Effective for frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches; Moderate or low quality evidence (Linde 2016 – Cochrane SR of 12 RCTs)(4)

Acupuncture has been included in the NICE guidelines for headache since 2012(5)


1. Kim SY, Lee H, Chae Y, Park HJ, Lee H. A systematic review of cost-effectiveness analyses alongside randomised controlled trials of acupuncture. Acupunct Med. 2012 Dec;30(4):273-85.

2. Coeytaux RR, Befus D. Role of Acupuncture in the Treatment or Prevention of Migraine, Tension-Type Headache, or Chronic Headache Disorders. Headache. 2016 Jul;56(7):1238-40.

3. Lardon A, Girard MP, Zaim C, Lemeunier N, Descarreaux M, Marchand AA. Effectiveness of preventive and treatment interventions for primary headaches in the workplace: A systematic review of the literature. Cephalalgia. 2016 Mar 2.

4. Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Shin BC, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;4:Cd007587.

5. National Institute for Health Care and Excellence. Management of migraine (with or without aura): NICE guideline CG150. In: National Institute for Health Care and Excellence, editor. 2012 (updated 2015).