Acupuncture is promising as a treatment for pain in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, a UK pilot study suggests. Twenty MS patients attending a nurse-led complementary therapy clinic were invited to participate in an evaluation of the service using a questionnaire. All of the patients had sought acupuncture for the relief of pain, and had been attending the clinic for between three and 24 months. The majority were receiving acupuncture at six weekly intervals; 85% were female, aged 20 to 60 years, with a wide range of duration of diagnosis. All participants described some reduction in pain, with nine patients scoring their level of pain relief as eight out of ten or better. Eighteen patients experienced pain relief for four or more weeks. Sleep pattern, mood, energy levels and mobility were also subjectively improved, though less strikingly than pain. Nine patients experienced a temporary increase in pain. Fifty-five per cent of patients had managed to reduce their use of analgesics, and three were able to stop additional analgesia completely. (Acupuncture is an effective treatment for pain and other MS symptoms. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2013;84:e2).

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