29. August 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Intensive Care Unit, Pain

Acupuncture is a feasible treatment for relieving pain in intensive care unit (ICU) patients, American researchers report. Forty six patients admitted to an ICU who were experiencing pain and/or nausea received three 20 minute acupuncture treatments in addition to usual care. Needling was carried out at eight predetermined points (unilateral Hegu L.I.-4, Taichong LIV-3, Neiguan P-6 and Zusanli ST-36, plus unilateral auricular points Shenmen, Sympathetic, Stomach and Thalamus). Self-reported pain levels were found to have decreased by a mean of 2.36 points on a 10 point scale immediately following acupuncture, which is above the commonly accepted threshold for clinically relevant analgesia. In addition, nearly half (49%) of all participants spontaneously reported an anxiolytic effect from acupuncture. A significant decrease in morphine usage after each treatment was also observed. The decrease in mean self-reported nausea scores was not statistically significant.
Acupuncture for Pain and Nausea in the Intensive Care Unit: A Feasibility Study in a Public Safety Net Hospital. J Altern Complement Med. 2017 Apr 25. [Epub ahead of print].

29. August 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Fybromyalgia

Fibromyalgia patients who exhibit greater sensitivity to pain are more likely to respond to sham acupuncture, and more likely to experience a worsening of pain after verum acupuncture, report US researchers. A cohort of 114 fibromyalgia patients received baseline pressure pain testing and were then randomised to either verum or sham acupuncture. Verum acupuncture consisted of needling nine acupuncture points (Baihui DU-20, right ear Shenmen, left Quchi L.I.-11, right Hegu L.I.-4, left Yanglingquan GB-34, left Zusanli ST-36, left Sanyinjiao SP-6 and right Taichong LIV-3), while sham treatment involved needling at non-acupuncture points. Participants received one to three treatments a week week for a total of 18 treatments. Participants who had higher pressure pain thresholds at baseline demonstrated a greater reduction in clinical pain following verum acupuncture, while participants who had lower baseline pain pressure thresholds showed a better analgesic response to sham acupuncture. In addition, patients with lower pressure pain thresholds reported exacerbated pain following verum acupuncture.
Evoked Pressure Pain Sensitivity Is Associated with Differential Analgesic Response to Verum and Sham Acupuncture in Fibromyalgia. Pain Med. 2017 Mar 15. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnx001. [Epub ahead of print].

29. August 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Acupuncture may achieve long-term pain relief in carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) by rewiring the brain, according to findings by an American research team. Previous studies have shown that the brain’s primary somatosensory cortex, which receives incoming signals related to the sense of touch, is pathologically remapped in CTS. Specifically, brain cells that usually respond to touch from specific fingers start to respond to signals from multiple fingers (measured as reduced cortical separation distance). In a sham-controlled neuroimaging study of acupuncture for CTS, researchers divided 80 patients into three groups. One group received electro-acupuncture on the hand and arm near the site of their pain (local), the second received electro-acupuncture on the ankle opposite the wrist with the pain (distal), while the third received sham electro-acupuncture with non-penetrating needles near the site of carpal tunnel pain. Each patient received 16 treatments over two months. At the end of the treatment period, the researchers found that all three interventions improved patient-reported CTS symptoms. However, only verum (local and distal) acupuncture produced improvements in neurophysiological outcomes, both local to the wrist (median sensory nerve conduction speed) and in the brain (cortical separation distance). Local verum acupuncture led to measurable improvements in outcomes both at the affected wrist and in the brain, while distal verum acupuncture produced improvement at the wrist only. Brain remapping seen after local verum acupuncture was correlated with sustained improvements in symptom severity at three-month follow-up. No physiological improvements resulted from sham acupuncture. The authors propose that while sham acupuncture may provide short-term benefits by modulating known placebo circuitry in the brain, real acupuncture can lead to lasting improvement in CTS symptoms by rewiring the primary somatosensory cortex, in addition to modulating local blood flow to the peripheral nerve in the wrist.
Rewiring the primary somatosensory cortex in carpal tunnel syndrome with acupuncture. Brain. 2017 Apr 1;140(4):914-927.