Somatic acupuncture versus ear acupuncture in migraine therapy: a randomized, controlled, blind study
This study compares the clinical effectiveness of somatic and ear acupuncture for treatment of migraine without aura. 35 patients were divided into 2 groups, one receiving somatic and the other ear acupuncture. Both groups were treated once a week for 8 weeks and needles were stimulated manually. The severity of pain was evaluated with the Migraine Index and the visual analogue of Scott-Huskisson; other 2 tests were used to monitor the pain threshold and Zung's Self-rating Depression Scale was applied to assess variations in patients' mood. These tests were performed before the beginning and at the end of treatment and, for the follow up, after 1, 3 and 6 months from the end of therapy. On the basis of the migraine index, pain at the end of therapy was significantly lower than before the treatment, being residual pain 54.83% and 63.43%, respectively for somatic and ear acupuncture. Apparently, the 2 treatments were equally effective, as no significant difference could be assessed. On the contrary, a significant difference between the 2 groups was clear during the follow up: in fact, after 6 months residual pain was 16.80% and 48.83% for somatic and ear acupuncture, respectively (p=0.038). These results were confirmed by the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) test and by the evaluation of pain threshold. It is noteworthy that also Zung's depression test showed a significant decrease of score was present in both groups, at all the times investigated with no difference between the two treatments. These results, though preliminary, are quite promising in supporting the effectiveness of ear acupuncture for treatment of migraine without aura.