A new research targeted the potentially beneficial effects of acupuncture performed on some patients that come to the emergency room. It looks to determine if this could be an effective treatment method. One that would also not require pain medication.
“Acupuncture” is used as a general term for describing a series of procedures which target the stimulation of specific points on the body. Although it is a key component of the traditional Chinese medicine, many debates still center around this practice and its utility.
Acupuncture to Help in the ER?
The new study was carried out by Australian scientists and is the largest controlled and randomized trial targeting acupuncture’s use in the emergency room. It involved almost 530 patients, which came in with pains at one of four Australian emergency departments. They reported suffering from ankle sprains, migraines, or acute low back pains. Also, the patients were asked to grade their pain on a 1 to 10 scale.
Those who reported feeling at least a 4 received one of three randomly assigned treatment methods. They either received painkiller, the pain medication and acupuncture, or this latter only.
Reports show that, about an hour following the treatment, no more than 40 percent of the patient felt a pain reduction. Over 80 percent still reported at least a 4-level pain. However, in about a couple of days’ time, most of the patient were reportedly satisfied.
A follow-up showed that almost 83 percent of the acupuncture-only treated patients stated they would “definitely” or “probably” chose such a method again. This was higher than the 81 percent that would want a mixed treatment. Or the 78 percent that would go for painkillers alone.
“Emergency nurses and doctors need a variety of pain-relieving options when treating patients, given the concerns around opioids such as morphine,” stated the study lead, Marc Cohen.
Cohen added that such a method could be a useful alternative for treating patients coming into the ER. It would be particularly useful when the patients cannot take painkillers because of other conditions. Still, Cohen also points out the need for more studies on the matter. Especially ones targeting the patients that still felt pain, no matter the treatment.
Research results are available in the Medical Journal of Australia.
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