It’s finals week and you’ve got a tension headache

Got a tension headache? Don’t want to take an analgesic like aspirin or acetaminophen? You might try electroacupuncture. Sound like something out of sci-fi novel? Electroacupuncture is used widely in China; it’s just like acupuncture, but in which the needles deliver electrical pulses between therm. And according to a randomized, controlled, crossover trial in 2004, it can provide some effective relief for a tension headache, albeit only short-term (1).

Get headaches way too often? You might as well take poison. No, seriously! The same neurotoxic dinoflagellate contaminant that produces shellfish poisoning, and even botulinum toxin, could be injected to impede nerve impulse causing headache pain to provide significant relief (2-4).

Reference List
1. Xue CC, Dong L, Polus B et al. Electroacupuncture for tension-type headache on distal acupoints only: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial. Headache 2004;44:333-41.
2. Lattes K, Venegas P, Lagos N et al. Local infiltration of gonyautoxin is safe and effective in treatment of chronic tension-type headache. Neurol Res 2009;31:228-33.
3. de Ru JA, Buwalda J. Botulinum toxin A injection into corrugator muscle for frontally localised chronic daily headache or chronic tension-type headache. J Laryngol Otol 2009;123:412-7.
4. Freund BJ, Schwartz M. Relief of tension-type headache symptoms in subjects with temporomandibular disorders treated with botulinum toxin-A. Headache 2002;42:1033-7.

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

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