Twelve patients with chronic migraine recruited from a neurology clinic or a self-help group were randomly allocated to receive either 6 weeks active laser acupuncture or 6 weeks dummy laser acupuncture. Patients completed headache diaries for the 6 weeks prior to treatment and for 6 weeks following. They were then crossed over to receive the alternative treatment for a further 6 weeks. Neither patients nor operator knew which unit was the active one. There was a reduction in mean total headache score (combining duration and severity) of 18% in the active group and 43% in the control group following the first treatment period. This difference was not significant. Following the second treatment period, mean scores increased by 50% in the active group and 5% in the control group but again this difference was not significant due to inconsistent responses by some patients. When active and placebo treatments were computed for all patients, there were still no significant differences. It is concluded that laser acupuncture does not have an important clinical effect in migraine over and above the expected placebo response.
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