Research from Brazil has found that acupuncture can reduce pain intensity and improve range of motion in women with neck and shoulder pain. Sixty women with at least one trigger point in the upper trapezius muscle, and local or referred pain lasting more than six months, were randomised into electroacupuncture (EAC), acupuncture (AC) and sham groups. Needles were inserted bilaterally into Jianjing GB-21 and Fengchi GB-20 and unilaterally into Hegu L.I.-4 and Taichong LIV-3, and a maximum of two needles on each side were inserted into ashi points. EAC was carried out with alternating frequency (2 Hz – 100 Hz), while the AC group received the same needling without electrostimulation. The sham group had needles inserted one centimetre distally from the verum acupoints. Eight acupuncture sessions were scheduled and a follow-up was conducted after 28 days. The results showed a reduction in general pain in the EAC and AC groups after eight sessions. A significant decrease in pain intensity occurred for the right trapezius in all groups and for the left trapezius in the EAC and AC groups. Intergroup comparisons showed improvement in general pain in the EAC and AC groups and in local pain intensity in the EAC group. The EAC group also showed an increase in left rotation while the AC group showed increases in inclination (sustained until follow-up) and rotation to the right. (Pain intensity and cervical range of motion in women with myofascial pain treated with acupuncture and electroacupuncture: a double-blinded, randomized clinical trial. Braz J Phys Ther. 2015 Jan-Feb;19(1):34-43).

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