Neurological Sciences

, Volume 35, Supplement 1, pp 195–198 | Cite as

Acupuncture in cluster headache: four cases and review of the literature

  • L. Fofi
  • G. Allais
  • P. E. Quirico
  • S. Rolando
  • P. Borgogno
  • P. Barbanti
  • C. Benedetto


Although cluster headache (CH) is the most disabling form of primary headache, little evidences regarding alternative and complementary therapies are available. Only few dated studies and some isolated cases are described. We describe four patients with CH treated with acupuncture as a preventive treatment, combined with verapamil or alone. All patients received acupuncture treatment twice/week for 2 weeks, then once/week for 8 weeks, and then once/alternate weeks for 2 weeks. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine the acupoints selected were: Ex HN-5 Taiyang, GB 14 Yangbai (both only on the affected side), GB 20 Fengchi (on both sides), LI 4 Hegu, LR 2 Xingjiang, SP 6 Sanyinjiao, ST 36 Zusanli (all on both sides). At each point, after the insertion of the needle, the feeling of “De Qi” was evoked; after obtaining this sensation the acupoints were not further stimulated for a period of 20 min, until their extraction. In all patients an interruption of cluster attacks was obtained. To our knowledge, this is the first report concerning acupuncture in CH patients which details the protocol approach, acupoints and duration of the treatment. Our results offer the opportunity to discuss the emerging role of acupuncture in the therapy of CH, assuming a possible influence on opioid system.


Acupoints Acupuncture Cluster headache Preventive treatment 



Cluster headache


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Fofi
    • 1
  • G. Allais
    • 2
    • 3
  • P. E. Quirico
    • 3
  • S. Rolando
    • 2
  • P. Borgogno
    • 2
    • 3
  • P. Barbanti
    • 1
  • C. Benedetto
    • 2
  1. 1.Headache and Pain UnitIRCCS San Raffaele PisanaRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Surgical Sciences, Women’s Headache CenterUniversity of TurinTurinItaly
  3. 3.Center for the Study of Natural and Physical Therapies (CSTNF)TurinItaly

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