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Emergency doctors are using acupuncture to treat pain, now here’s the evidence

 3 years ago       493 Views

Our study, the largest of its kind in the world, shows using acupuncture in the emergency department can relieve acute pain.

The study, published today in the Medical Journal of Australia, finds acupuncture is as effective as medication in treating pain for lower back pain and ankle sprain.

Our study builds on previous research to show the effectiveness of acupuncture to treat chronic (long-term) pain.

Why we ran the study and what we did Anecdotally, we were aware that several emergency department doctors, in both public and private hospitals in Australia, were treating patients’ pain with acupuncture.

However, no treatment provided good pain relief until after the first hour.

Our findings suggest acupuncture may be a viable option for patients who come to the emergency department for pain relief.

This is also an important finding in light of the potential for side effects and abuse with opioid analgesics, which might otherwise be used to relieve pain in the emergency department.

However, our research raises several issues, not only about conducting such research but also in implementing our findings in practice.

These included issues around the qualifications of medical and non-medical acupuncturists and employing traditional Chinese medicine practitioners to deliver acupuncture in a western medical hospital.

Hopefully, our study will spark further research to address these issues and lead to the development of safe and effective protocols for acute pain relief that may involve combining both modern and ancient forms of medicine to achieve rapid and effective analgesia for all emergency department patients.

Author: Marc Cohen


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