Navigation Links
More Evidence Acupuncture Can Ease Chronic Pain
Date:9/11/2012

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- When it comes to the relief of chronic pain, acupuncture is indeed effective, a sweeping review of previous research finds.

The conclusion stems from a fresh analysis of initial raw data that had been collected by 29 studies previously conducted in Germany, Spain, Sweden, the United States and the United Kingdom. Collectively, these past investigations had involved nearly 18,000 patients.

"We looked at only the best-quality studies," said study author Andrew Vickers, an attending research methodologist and statistician at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in New York City. "So I can say with confidence that what we found is the strongest evidence to date supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture."

The study appeared online Sept. 10 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Acupuncture is age-old Chinese medicinal practice of carefully targeted needle insertion and stimulation at specific points of the body. The review authors acknowledge that although 3 million Americans now undergo acupuncture each year, it's still the subject of a great deal of debate among Western medicine practitioners with respect to its true therapeutic value.

Many experts theorize that patients who attest to notable pain relief following an acupuncture procedure are simply deriving the benefits of deeply wishful thinking (otherwise known as the "placebo effect"), rather than any true physiological improvements.

The authors of the new study looked at acupuncture's potential impact on four distinct types of chronic pain that each patient had endured for at least one month: back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache (including migraines) and shoulder pain.

All studies included in the review were randomized controlled trials, considered the gold standard of research. As well, all involved a comparison between acupuncture and either "usual care" involving no acupuncture at all or the use of so-called "sham acupuncture."

Sham acupuncture involved the use of retractable or superficially inserted needles in some instances, or nonworking electrical or laser-based stimulation in others.

The result: When compared against sham interventions or no acupuncture at all, true acupuncture appeared to be "superior" at relieving all four types of pain in question.

Acupuncture was seen to provide more or less equivalent degrees of greater pain relief across all pain types.

How much greater? Vickers and his associates explained that, generally speaking, if a patient was to go on to experience a 30 percent drop in pain while undergoing standard care with no acupuncture intervention, those undergoing "sham acupuncture" seemed to experience about a 43 percent drop, while true acupuncture patients experienced a 50 percent fall-off.

The authors stressed that although the superiority of true acupuncture over sham acupuncture appeared to be relatively small, the real-world choice patients face is not between acupuncture or fake acupuncture but rather between acupuncture or no acupuncture at all. And in that context they suggested that their findings are "of major importance for clinical practice."

"Basically what we see here is that the pain relief difference from acupuncture versus no acupuncture is notable, and important, and difficult to ignore," Vickers said.

However, he cautioned that though the analysis suggests that acupuncture is a "reasonable" pain relief option, interested patients should make sure to seek out a qualified practitioner, perhaps by getting a reliable referral from their general practitioner.

For his part, Dr. Ed Ross, director of the pain management center at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston, suggested that while acupuncture may work for some it may not work for all.

"There is clearly a response to acupuncture among a selected patient population," he said. "And for this seemingly small subset I think it's a viable treatment for chronic pain. However, in general, the studies that have looked into this have not been considered to be particularly scientifically rigorous. So it's been really difficult to say who will be in that subset that will benefit."

"So I would say try it, and if it works, great," Ross added. "But I also believe in an interdisciplinary approach to pain management. So acupuncture should be considered as only one part of a whole treatment plan."

Because costs for an acupuncture session vary so widely, neither expert could offer a price estimate. At present, most insurance does not cover acupuncture.

More information

To learn more about acupuncture, visit the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

SOURCES: Andrew Vickers, D.Phil., attending research methodologist and statistician, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City; Ed Ross, M.D., director, pain management center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; Sept. 10, 2012, Archives of Internal Medicine, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Researchers find first evidence for a genetic cause for Barretts esophagus
2. Little evidence of health benefits from organic foods, Stanford study finds
3. Review finds some evidence for chemo brain in breast cancer survivors, Moffitt Cancer Center says
4. Nurse leader resistance perceived as a barrier to high-quality, evidence-based patient care
5. Little Evidence on Value of Treatments for Autism: Report
6. Little evidence supports autism treatment options in adolescents
7. First evidence from humans on how alcohol may boost risk of cancer
8. No evidence that drug used for preventing life-threatening bleeding in women during labor works
9. Evidence that new biomimetic controlled-release capsules may help in gum disease
10. More Evidence That Exercise in Middle Age Boosts Health
11. Study adds to evidence daily aspirin linked to lower cancer mortality
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
More Evidence Acupuncture Can Ease Chronic Pain
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... A ... revolutionize the emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions of people who require ... has disrupted the taxi industry through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements ... that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and ... main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Miami, FL (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton ... Plant City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: ... The closing for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June ... a Bronze Wellness at Work award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments ... of the 7th annual Maryland Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of ... verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. ... throw rocks at my other children and say he was going to kill them. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Colombia , June 23, 2016  Astellas today announced the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a new ... affiliate in Latin America . ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 The vast majority ... outpatient dialysis facility.  Treatments are usually 3 times a ... per visit, including travel time, equipment preparation and wait ... but especially grueling for patients who are elderly and ... skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers for some duration of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 The Biotechnology ... continues to present great opportunities to investors. Stock-Callers.com assesses ... Intrexon Corp. (NYSE: XON ), Vertex Pharmaceuticals ... (NASDAQ: ARNA ), and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. ... stocks and receive your complimentary trade alerts at: ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: