Treating Therapy-Resistant Headache After Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage with Acupuncture

  • Joanna Dietzel
  • Torsten Eck
  • Taras UsichenkoEmail author
Practical Pearl



Subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) is usually associated with severe headache, whereas the options of pharmacological analgesia are restricted. Acupuncture is a promising method in treatment of headaches associated with meningeal sensitivity or irritation, such as migraine or post-dural puncture headache.

Case Report

We report on 3 patients, who suffered severe headache due to aneurysmal SAH, and received acupuncture when pharmacological measures were exhausted. After acupuncture treatment all patients reported at least 50% pain reduction and could stop or reduce analgesics without side effects.


Acupuncture may be an effective pain treatment method in patients suffering from headache due to SAH. Randomized trials using acupuncture as an add-on to standard analgesic therapy would help evaluate the role of acupuncture for this purpose.


Subarachnoid hemorrhage Headache Acupuncture 



The authors thank Dr. Mike Cummings for preparation of figures and language correction of the manuscript and Dr. Cornelia Koch for her clinical advice.

Author’s Contribution

J.D. was involved in the treatment of patients using acupuncture, data collection and interpretation, and writing the MS; T.E. contributed to management of patients at ICU, data collection, and writing the MS; and T.U. was involved in the idea of the investigation, treatment of patients, data interpretation, and writing the MS.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Source of support

There was no support for this work.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was received from each patient, and ethics commission has approved this retrospective case series investigation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature and Neurocritical Care Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Epidemiology, Social Medicine and Health EconomyCharité University Medicine BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity Medicine of GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiaMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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