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Acupuncture Proven Effective in Treating Pain in Emergency Patients

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A recent study published in the Medical Journal of Australia showed acupuncture was effective in relieving pain in patients who visited the emergency room.

"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.” —Marc Cohen, lead investigator.

The Trial

This study was the largest randomized controlled trial, where over 528 patients with acute low back pain, ankle sprain or migraines were involved. Patients that came to the emergency room and had at least a 4 on a 10-point scale were offered either acupuncture alone, acupuncture plus pharmacotherapy or pharmacotherapy alone treatments.

Results

An hour after any of the treatments, less than 40% experienced a reduction in pain. However, after 48 hours, 82.8% of acupuncture-only patients said that they would repeat their treatment, opposed to 80.8% in the combined group and 78.2% in the pharmacotherapy-only group.  

"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,” said lead investigator Marc Cohen. "But it's clear we need more research overall to develop better medical approaches to pain management, as the study also showed patients initially remained in some pain, no matter what treatment they received."

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