Study: Acupuncture and Pain Management

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shoulder pain

acupuncture increases pain threshold

A recent study published in the May issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia, official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS), illustrates the successful use of acupuncture to increase pain tolerance in two dozen patients.

Researchers used quantitative sensory testing to explore certain nerve fiber injuries related to chronic pain.  This type of testing measures a patient’s perception of hot and cold as well as pressure.

Three types of acupuncture were used: acupuncture alone and acupuncture with high-frequency and low-frequency electrical stimulation. Pain thresholds increased by up to 50 per cent in both the treated leg and the untreated (contralateral) leg.  Patient responses provide diagnostic clues to specific types of nerve injury and treatment possibilities.

“Our results show that contralateral stimulation leads to a remarkable pain relief. This suggests that acupuncturists should needle contralaterally if the affected side is too painful or not accessible-for example, if the skin is injured or there is a dressing in place,” commented Dr. Dominik Irnich, one of the lead researchers.

Studies like this one illustrate a scientific basis for acupuncture and inspire further research. Such research is immensely valuable to the field of Oriental Medicine and all who suffer from chronic pain.

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