Acupuncture before surgery may help lower pain, anxiety and opioid use afterwards, reveals study
The control group, which did not receive acupuncture, required around three times the amount of morphine for pain management as compared to those who underwent acupuncture, the study showed
Alternative medicine involves all other medicinal therapies that are different from conventional allopathic medicine. These therapies claim to treat all sorts of diseases and are usually believed to have originated thousands of years ago.
Acupuncture is one such traditional Chinese medicine therapy, where the expert inserts thin, solid and metallic needles into some specific points of the body and then either gently moves them or attaches them to some electrical stimulator. It is believed that this technique helps in relieving pain and tension present in the body.
In a recent study, presented at the Anesthesiology annual meeting held online from 2 to 5 October 2020, it was stated that acupuncture can help in relieving pain that is experienced after surgery.
Traditional and battlefield acupuncture
The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of traditional and battlefield acupuncture on 106 veterans who were about to undergo surgery.
Battlefield acupuncture is a technique where needles are placed inside the ear to reduce pain in the body, while in traditional acupuncture the needles are placed on different parts of the body.
A total of 42 participants were going to have a hip replacement surgery done and were either given traditional acupuncture or kept as control patients (no acupuncture). The other 64 participants, who were getting different surgeries, were either given battlefield acupuncture or were kept as control patients.
Postoperative pain and opioid use
The results of the study showed that the control group, which did not receive any of the acupuncture therapies, required around three times the amount of morphine for the management of pain as compared to the veterans who received acupuncture therapy.
The control patients required 56 MME (morphine milligram equivalent) for pain management after the surgery while the patients who received acupuncture required only 20.4 MME of morphine.
Furthermore, patients who received acupuncture therapy not only showed less pain but also less anxiety after the surgery.
Traditional acupuncture and battlefield acupuncture, both showed a reduced need for opioids. It was found that the control group took twice the dose of opioids compared to acupuncture-receiving patients during the 24 hours after the surgery.
The results further showed that 38 percent of the control group presented with nausea and vomiting, whereas it was only prevalent in 3 percent of the battlefield acupuncture patients.
The scientists concluded that with the help of traditional and battlefield acupuncture, postoperative pain levels and opioid use can be reduced significantly.
This cost-effective, low-risk method could be used as an adjunct to the perioperative treatment methods to reduce the use of opioids after surgery as well as the levels of postoperative pain and anxiety.
For more information, read our article on What therapy is.
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