Acupuncture as effective in treating acute pain as painkillers: study | health | Hindustan Times
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Acupuncture as effective in treating acute pain as painkillers: study

Acupuncture is as effective as pain medicine in providing long-term relief to patients who visit emergency departments in considerable pain, concluded the world’s largest randomised controlled trial of acupuncture It cautioned, however, that more studies are needed before declaring acupuncture as an effective alternative to drug therapy.

health Updated: Jun 19, 2017 13:21 IST

Acupuncture is as effective as pain medicine in providing long-term relief for patients who come to emergency departments in considerable pain, concluded the world’s largest randomised controlled trial of acupuncture, while cautioning that more studies are needed before declaring it as an effective alternative to drug therapy.

The study, done in the emergency departments of four Melbourne hospitals, showed pain management remains a critical issue, with neither treatment providing adequate immediate relief.

Pain is the most common reason for emergency visits, but is often poorly managed.

“Emergency nurses and doctors need a variety of pain-relieving options when treating patients, given the concerns around opioids such as morphine, which carry the risk of addiction when used long-term,” said lead investigator Professor Marc Cohen, from RMIT’s School of Health and Biomedical Sciences .

“Our study has shown acupuncture is a viable alternative, and would be especially beneficial for patients who are unable to take standard pain-relieving drugs because of other medical conditions.”

Improved medical approaches to pain management are needed as patients remain in some pain irrespective of the treatment given, found the study of 528 persons with acute low back pain, migraine or ankle sprains.

For the study, patients who identified their level of pain as at least 4 on a 10-point scale were randomly given one of three types of treatment: only acupuncture , acupuncture plus medicines, and only medicines.

One hour after treatment, less than 40 per cent of patients across all three groups felt any significant pain reduction (2 or more pain points), while more than 80 per cent continued to have a pain rating of at least 4.

But 48 hours later, the majority were happy with their treatment , with 82.8 per cent of acupuncture-only patients saying they would probably repeat their treatment, compared with 80.8 per cent in the combined group, and 78.2 per cent in the medicine-only group.