ASA: Acupuncture Helps Manage Postoperative Pain

Acupuncture and related techniques reduce opioid requirements, pain scores and side effects

MONDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Acupuncture and related techniques such as acupressure or moxibustion are effective adjunct treatments in the management of postoperative pain, according to research presented this month at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in San Francisco.

Yanxia Sun, M.D., of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues reviewed 15 randomized, placebo-controlled trials from 1966-2007 that assessed the efficacy of acupuncture and related techniques on postoperative pain.

The researchers found postoperative opioid consumption was significantly lower in the acupuncture groups than in the control groups, with weighted mean differences in morphine equivalents of -2.37 mg at eight hours, -8.16 mg at 24 hours, and -7.74 mg at 72 hours. They also found that the acupuncture groups had significantly lower visual analog pain scores at all three time intervals, and lower incidences of opioid-related side effects such as nausea, pruritis, urinary retention and dizziness (relative risks, 0.68, 0.75, 0.29 and 0.62, respectively).

"Side effects related to acupuncture were not different in the acupuncture group compared with control group and all resolved spontaneously," the authors state.


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