15. February 2018 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Community Acupuncture, Pain

A feasibility study carried out by a US research team suggests that acupuncture offered in a group setting is effective for reducing pain and depression in patients with chronic pain or osteoarthritis. In a non-randomised, quasi-experimental trial, 113 subjects with chronic pain of the neck, back, shoulder, or osteoarthritis of any region, received eight weekly acupuncture therapy sessions in a group setting. Acupuncture therapy included a combination of acupuncture, tui na, gua sha and auricular treatment. The results showed a statistically and clinically significant decrease in pain severity, pain interference and depression in the study population over eight weeks of treatment. This benefit was sustained through follow up at 24 weeks with no additional intervention. The authors conclude that group acupuncture may be considered an effective treatment option for chronic pain, capable of producing clinically relevant and long-lasting pain reduction, in a setting that potentially improves access for patients of a lower socioeconomic status.

Acupuncture Therapy in a Group Setting for Chronic Pain. Pain Med. 2017 Jun 8. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnx134. [Epub ahead of print].

15. February 2018 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Pain

The largest-ever pragmatic randomised trial of acupuncture carried out in hospital emergency departments has found that it is a safe and effective alternative to pain-relieving drugs for acute pain. A total of 1964 patients presenting at four Australian hospital emergency departments with back pain, migraine and ankle sprain were randomised to acupuncture alone, acupuncture plus pharmacotherapy or pharmacotherapy alone. The results showed that although neither acupuncture nor standard pharmacotherapy afforded patients clinically relevant reduction in pain within an hour, patients still found both treatments to be acceptable, and the effectiveness of acupuncture alone was comparable with that of pharmacotherapy.

Acupuncture for analgesia in the emergency department: a multicentre, randomised, equivalence and non-inferiority trial. Med J Aus. 2017; 206 (11): 494.

A systematic review by American authors also supports acupuncture as an effective treatment for acute pain in the hospital emergency department. Meta-analyses were performed on data from 14 randomised controlled trials (representing 1210 patients) which compared acupuncture with sham, acupuncture with standard analgesia and acupuncture as an adjunct to standard care. Acupuncture was judged to be more clinically effective compared to sham and non-inferior to conventional drug therapy for acute pain. Limited data was also found that indicated superior results if acupuncture was added as an adjunct to standard analgesia. Acupuncture was also associated with improved patient satisfaction, lower cost and fewer adverse effects.

Does acupuncture have a role in providing analgesia in the emergency setting? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Emerg Med Australas. 2017 Jul 26. [Epub ahead of print].

15. February 2018 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Pain

Acupuncture is still effective for pain relief a year after treatment has ended, according to a paper by Prof Hugh MacPherson and international colleagues from the Acupuncture Trialists’ Collaboration. Using a large individual patient data set from high-quality randomised trials of acupuncture for chronic pain (20 trials, including 6376 patients) the authors determined the trajectory of pain scores over time, after acupuncture for conditions including musculoskeletal pain (low back, neck, shoulder), osteoarthritis of the knee and headache. In trials comparing acupuncture to a no-acupuncture control, effect sizes diminished by a nonsignificant amount (0.011 SD per three months) after treatment ended. This suggests that approximately 90 percent of the benefit of acupuncture relative to controls would be sustained at 12 months. For trials comparing acupuncture to sham, they observed a smaller, but still significant, reduction in effect size (0.025 SD per three months), suggesting approximately a 50 percent diminution at 12 months. The authors recommend that studies of the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture should take these findings into account.

The persistence of the effects of acupuncture after a course of treatment: a meta-analysis of patients with chronic pain. Pain. 2017 May;158(5):784-793.

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].

25. May 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Osteoporosis, Pain

German clinicians have found acupuncture to be effective in producing sustained, clinically relevant pain relief in patients with osteoporosis. In a sham-controlled study, 53 patients received 10 sessions of either verum or sham acupuncture treatment over five weeks. Verum acupuncture consisted of deep needling at specific points according to TCM principles (Shenshu BL-23, Dachangshu BL-25, Weizhong BL-40, Kunlun BL-60, Yanglingquan GB-34, Taixi KID-3 and Bai Hui DU-20, plus a maximum of five individual ah shi points), while sham acupuncture consisted of superficial needling at non-acupuncture points (located at least five centimetres away from the verum acupuncture points). Both groups experienced significant reductions in activity-related pain and pain at rest over time. The verum acupuncture group experienced a significantly greater reduction in mean pain intensity at rest compared with the control group. In the control group, quality of life improved only temporarily post-treatment and declined slightly by the end of the follow-up period. By contrast, patients in the verum acupuncture group experienced continuous and significant improvements in quality of life for up to three months after treatment.
Effects of acupuncture on quality of life and pain in patients with osteoporosis-a pilot randomized controlled trial. Arch Osteoporos. 2016 Dec;11(1):34.

28. March 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Pain

The beneficial effects of a course of acupuncture treatment for patients with chronic pain appear to persist for at least 12 months, according to a secondary analysis of data from the Acupuncture Trialists’ Collaboration. Professor Hugh MacPherson and co-authors used meta-analytic techniques to determine the trajectory of post-treatment pain scores from 20 high quality randomised trials of acupuncture for chronic pain, including data from 6376 patients. In trials comparing acupuncture to a no acupuncture control (wait-list, usual care, etc), about 90 per cent of the benefit of acupuncture relative to controls was sustained at 12 months from the end of treatment. In trials comparing acupuncture to sham, approximately 50 per cent of the benefit for acupuncture relative to sham was sustained at 12 months. The authors conclude that patients can be reassured that the treatment effects of acupuncture are long-lasting and that this should be taken into account in studies of the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture.
The persistence of the effects of acupuncture after a course of treatment: A meta-analysis of patients with chronic pain. Pain. 2016 Oct 17. [Epub ahead of print].

26. January 2017 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Pain

A retrospective chart review carried out by US doctors at a veterans hospital suggests that auricular acupuncture (AA) is effective in treating refractory pain conditions. One hundred and forty-seven patients who had received AA for common pain conditions, including body pain and headaches, were studied. The majority of these patients had been unresponsive to prior treatments. Treatment was carried out according to auricular mapping and a diagnostic paradigm developed by the lead author through clinical experience, with up to six points chosen on each ear based on pressure sensitivity, and stimulated with either semi-permanent needles or magnetic pellets. Most veterans received fewer than three treatments, separated by three to five months. Despite this, patients’ average pain scores decreased by almost 60%. The majority (83.6%) reported that AA was helpful, with treatment effects lasting one to three months in 47% of patients.
A case series of auricular acupuncture in a veteran’s population using a revised auricular mapping-diagnostic paradigm (RAMP-uP). Complement Ther Med. 2016 Aug;27:130-6.

03. November 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Pain, Tai Chi Chuan

Tai chi should be considered as a viable therapy for chronic pain conditions, according to an international team of authors. Data from 18 randomised controlled trials (1260 individuals) were included in their systematic review. The aggregated results indicated that practising tai chi led to immediate relief of chronic pain from osteoarthritis, low back pain and osteoporosis. Their results also indicated that a minimum duration of tai chi practice for chronic pain relief should be six weeks, with longer duration achieving better gains. (Tai Chi for Chronic Pain Conditions: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Sci Rep. 2016 Apr 29;6:25325).

20. October 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Pain

Acupuncture is an acceptable and effective adjunctive method for reducing pain and anxiety in an emergency department (ED) setting, report American clinicians. In a pilot observational study, retrospective data was used to identify patients who had received individualised acupuncture in addition to standard medical care in the ED. A total of 182 patients were included in their analyses. Of the 52% of patients who did not receive analgesics before or during the acupuncture session, the average reported decrease in pain (2.37 points) was not different to the mean decrease of those who received analgesics (2.68 points). In addition there was a significant improvement in anxiety scores amongst those who received acupuncture.
Acceptability, Adaptation, and Clinical Outcomes of Acupuncture Provided in the Emergency Department: A Retrospective Pilot Study. Pain Med. 2016 Feb 25. pii: pnv114. [Epub ahead of print].

20. October 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Acupuncture, Headache, Pain

A Cochrane systematic review suggests that a course of acupuncture consisting of at least six treatments can be a valuable option for people with frequent tension-type headache. The international team of authors included 12 trials with 2349 adults in their updated review. They highlighted the finding in two large trials that acupuncture added to usual care (pain-killers) resulted in 48 out of 100 participants’ headache frequency reducing by more than half, compared to just 17 out of 100 participants who received usual care only. When compared with sham acupuncture (six trials), headache frequency halved in 52 of 100 participants receiving true acupuncture, compared with 43 of 100 participants receiving sham. One large, high quality trial (with about 400 participants), showed that the effect of true acupuncture was still present six months post-treatment.
Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Apr 19;4:CD007587.