Research lead by Hannover Medical school in Germany has shown that acupuncture, either alone or combined with physiotherapy exercise, is associated with positive effects on symptom intensity, quality of life, anxiety and depression, in patients with tension headaches. They randomised 96 adults, mean age 39, with frequent episodic or chronic tension headaches, to one of four treatment groups: acupuncture, physiotherapy, both of the foregoing, or usual care. Patients were recruited via pain clinics, primary care and regional media. Treatment was given for six weeks. No severe adverse events occurred.
Depression scores for the acupuncture and acupuncture-plus-physiotherapy groups, were significantly lower than in the physiotherapy and usual care groups. Similar results were found for anxiety and physical functioning, and the benefits of acupuncture persisted at six month follow-up.
(Effects of acupuncture and medical training therapy on depression, anxiety, and quality of life in patients with frequent tension-type headache: A randomized controlled study. Cephalalgia, 9 January 2023.)