The three-step acupuncture and cupping method has a beneficial effect in the treatment of cervicogenic headache, which provides rapid benefits, has better short- and long-term efficacy.
Acupuncture and cupping therapy is proven to be effective as an alternative therapy in treating and strengthening the therapeutic effect of other therapeutic methods in the cervicogenic headache management.
Objective: To assess the clinical efficacy and safety of three-step acupuncture and cupping therapy for cervicogenic headache (CEH).
Methods: A randomized, single-blind, multi-center, parallel controlled clinical trial was performed, including 63 patients with CEH who met the study criteria. They were randomly divided into treatment (n = 32) and control groups (n = 31). The treatment group was treated with three-step acupuncture and cupping therapy, and the control group was treated with sham acupuncture.
The simplified McGill pain scores, comprising three parts: the pain rating index, visual analogue scale score, and present pain intensity, alongside head and neck stiffness and cervical vertebra range of motion, and a safety evaluation were recorded in the two groups before treatment, immediately after the first treatment, after 10 days of treatment, after 20 days of treatment, and 3 months after the end of treatment.
Results: Compared with before treatment, the scores at each follow-up time point were significantly improved after treatment; moreover, the treatment group was significantly better than the control group. When the scores at the 3 months follow-up after the end of the treatment were compared with the scores after 20 days of treatment, there were no significant differences in the treatment group while significant differences from the scores of the control group, suggesting that the treatment group had better long-term benefits than the control group
Conclusion: Compared with the sham acupuncture group, the three-step acupuncture and cupping method has a beneficial effect in the treatment of CEH. It provides rapid benefits, has better short- and long-term efficacy than sham acupuncture, and is associated with a low recurrence rate.