A new pilot study concludes that acupuncture reduces pain associated with whiplash. In this randomized controlled study, one group received acupuncture treatments at a rate of three times per week for 2 weeks and the control group was placed on a waiting list. Whiplash associated musculoskeletal disorders commonly occur due to automotive accidents and sporting incidents. Trauma to the neck leads to inflammation of the soft tissue, subluxation and displacement of cervical vertebrae and nerve root irritation. In many cases, the curvature of the spine straightens or malforms into a reverse curve formation due to the acute injury. This study concluded that, “Acupuncture treatment was associated with a significant alleviation of pain.”
More research continues to emerge showing the pain relieving effects of acupuncture. Last summer, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded study shows that electroacupuncture, “inhibits osteoarthritis-induced pain by enhancing 5-HT2A/2C [serotonin] receptor activity.” Activation of this serotonin receptor produces powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Researchers from the University of Maryland in Baltimore and Shanxi Medical University in Shanxi, China showed that electroacupuncture attenuates osteoarthritis pain by activating serotonin receptors that, “play an important role in pain modulation at the spinal level.” The researchers also discovered that electroacupuncture activates serotonergic neurons that project into the spinal cord. The researchers concluded that electroacupuncture has the ability to “induce spinal serotonin release and stimulate 5-HT2A/2c [serotonin] receptor activities at the spinal cord to inhibit osteoarthritis-induced pain.”
Acupuncture for Whiplash-associated disorder: A randomized, waiting-list controlled, pilot trial. Hyun-Young Kwaka, 1, Jong-In Kima, 1, Ji-Min Parka, Sang-Hoon Leea, Hong-Suk Yua, Jae-Dong Leea, Ki-Ho Chob, Shuichi Kataic, Hiroshi Tsukayamac, Tomoaki Kimurad, Do-Young Choia. European Journal of Integrative Medicine. 1-9-2012.
a Dept. of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
b Dept. of Cardiovascular and Neurologic Diseases, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
c Course of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Department of Health, Faculty of Health Science, National University Corporation Tsukuba University of Technology, Japan
d Dept. of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Tokyo Ariake University of Medical and Health Sciences, Japan
Serotonin Receptor 2A/C Is Involved in Electroacupuncture Inhibition of Pain in an Osteoarthritis Rat Model. Aihui Li, Yu Zhang, Lixing Lao, Jiajia Xin, Ke Ren, Brian M. Berman, and Rui-Xin Zhang. Hindawi Publishing Corporation. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2011, Article ID 619650, 6 pages.