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Acupuncture for episodic cluster headache: a trigeminal approach
  1. Simon Hayhoe
  1. Department of Pain Management, Colchester University Hospital, Colchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Simon Hayhoe, simonhayhoe{at}


Following evidence that acupuncture is clinically feasible and cost-effective in the treatment of headache, the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends acupuncture as prophylactic treatment for migraine and tension headache. There has thus been expectation that other forms of headache should benefit also. Unfortunately, acupuncture has not generally been successful for cluster headache. This may be due to acupuncturists approaching the problem as one of severe migraine. In fact, cluster headache is classed as a trigeminal autonomic cephalgia. In this case report, episodic cluster headache is treated in the same way as has been shown effective for trigeminal neuralgia. Acupuncture is applied to the contralateral side at points appropriate for stimulating branches of the trigeminal nerve. Thus, ST2 is used for the infraorbital nerve, BL2 and Yuyao for the supratrochlear and supraorbital nerves, and Taiyang for the temporal branch of the zygomatic nerve.

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