New research concludes that acupuncture is effective for relieving pain of the neck and lower back. Researchers studied the effects of acupuncture on injured neck and lower back discs. Spinal intervertebral disc related pain often results in local pain and radiculopathy, nerve pain that travels distally from the affected region. In the study, acupuncture was compared with the effectiveness of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). The researchers concluded that acupuncture is effective for pain relief and in some cases is more effective than NSAIDs for the relief of pain. Acupuncture was determined to be effective for both long and short-term pain relief for lumbar disc herniations and subsequent radiculopathies. In addition, acupuncture was determined to be effective for the treatment of cervical disc related pain for both the long and short-term. The researchers discovered that acupuncture is “significantly more effective” than NSAIDs for the short-term relief of cervical disc related neck pain.
Acupuncture points used in the study for the treatment of the lower back included UB23, UB52, UB25, UB32, UB40, GB34 plus auricular acupoints shenmen and lumbosacral area. For neck pain, acupuncture needles were applied to UB10, GB20 and local ahshi points 0.5 cun lateral to the cervical spine. Auricular points included shenmen and cervical vertebra area.
All ear press needles were 0.22 X 1.55mm. Cervical acupuncture needles were 0.30 X 40mm and lumbar region needles were 0.25 X 25mm. Needles were inserted to a depth of reaching the muscle tissue and the lifting-thrusting technique was applied to achieve de qi. Stimulation was repeated at five minute intervals over the 20 minute treatment period. Acupuncture was applied two times per week for five weeks with a grand total of ten acupuncture treatments.
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Effectiveness of Acupuncture with NSAID Medication in the Management of Acute Discogenic Radicular Pain: A Randomised, Controlled Trial. Beyazit Zencirci1, Kasim Zafer Yuksel, and Yakup Gumusalan. Department of Anesthesiology and Reanimation, Special Devakent Hospital, Kahramanmaras, Turkey. Department of Neurosurgery, Medical Faculty of Sutcu Imam University, Kahramanmaras, Turkey. Department of Anatomy, Medical Faculty of Sutcu Imam University, Kahramanmaras, Turkey. Zencirci et al., J Anesthe Clinic Res 2012, 3:3.