Monday, August 3, 2009

Acupuncture and Neck Pain

Electrical Stimulation on Acupuncture Points of the Wrist May Reduce Neck Pain

Keywords:NECK PAIN, CHRONIC PAIN - Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Traditional East Asian MedicineReference:"Electrical acustimulation of the wrist for chronic neck pain: a randomized, sham-controlled trial using a wrist-ankle acustimulation device," Chan DK, Johnson MI, et al, Clin J Pain, 2009; 25(4): 320-6. (Address: Hong Kong Acupuncture and Physiotherapy Pain Center, Hong Kong SAR, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. E-mail: ).

Summary:In a randomized, single-blind, sham-controlled trial involving 49 patients with chronic neck pain, electrical stimulation of acupuncture points on the wrist (traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat neck pain) in addition to neck exercises was found to be more effective than neck exercises alone in alleviating chronic neck pain. Subjects received real electrical stimulation or sham stimulation for 30 minutes, 2 times/week, for a period of 4 weeks. Simultaneous with the stimulation, 30 minutes of standardized neck exercises were performed. Immediately post-treatment and one month post-treatment significant improvements were found among the patients who received electrical stimulation. 39% of subjects in the acupoint electrical stimulation group reported a greater than 50% decrease in symptoms, as compared to only 8% in the sham treatment group. These results suggest that adding electrical stimulation to acupuncture points on the wrist may enhance the ef fects of neck exercises and reduce chronic pain, without producing any adverse effects. Receiving treatments twice/week for a period of one month was found to yield beneficial effects that lasted at least through 1-month post-treatment.

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