Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture C-section Pain Relief

Acupuncturec section

Acupuncture demonstrates clinical efficacy for relieving pain after Cesarean delivery (C-section). Xu et al. compared patient-controlled intravenous analgesia (PICA) monotherapy with an electroacupuncture integrative medicine protocol. Based on the data, the researchers conclude that electroacupuncture plus medications is significantly safer and more effective in producing pain relief than drug monotherapy. [1] The research delineates specific acupuncture points demonstrating the ability to disrupt pain signal transduction pathways.

Researchers conducted a clinical trial of 100 women experiencing pain after Cesarean delivery. The patients were randomly divided into an observation group and an electroacupuncture group, with 50 cases in each group. In the observation group, the patient age range was from 21 to 33 years, and mean age was 27.48 ±3.70. Average pregnancy was 40.23 ±0.41. In the electroacupuncture group, the patient age range was from 21 to 34 years, and mean age was 27.64 ±3.63. Average pregnancy was 40.15 ±0.38. Statistically, the patient baselines were equivalent.

All patients were first-time pregnant mothers with single birth, that presented surgical indications for C-section. Gestational weeks ranged from 39 to 41 weeks. Exclusion criteria were as follows: severe diseases of internal organs, a history of mental diseases, high blood pressure during pregnancy, heart, liver and kidney function disorders, or a history of abdominal surgery.

Both groups received C-sections after anesthesia. For the observation group, patient-controlled intravenous analgesia (PICA) was used 30 minutes after the procedure. A sufentanil (100 μg) and tropisetron combination (10 mg) was diluted with 0.9% sodium chloride saline (100 ml), and was injected into an analgesic pump. Speed was set at 2 ml/h. PICA was removed after 48 hours.

For the acupuncture group, filiform 0.40 mm × 50 mm acupuncture needles were connected to an electroacupuncture device with a continuous wave. The frequency was adjusted to 10–100 Hz. Electroacupuncture was given 30 minutes each session, for 2 consecutive days. The following acupoints were used:

  • ST36 (Zusanli)
  • SP9 (Yinlingquan)
  • SP6 (Sanyinjiao)

Before and after treatment, the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and β-endorphin levels plus prostaglandin levels in patient venous blood was recorded and evaluated. Additionally, PCIA usage data was assessed and analyzed.

The results indicate that the electroacupuncture group showed a more marked change in VAS scores, declining from 4.73 ±1.02 to 3.68 ±0.92. On average, the observation group averaged use of PCIA 6.34 ±1.88 times, while the electroacupuncture group averaged 4.37 ±1.21 times. The statistics indicate that electroacupuncture helped to improve pain relief. The researchers comment that electroacupuncture disrupted pain signal transduction pathways and improved outcomes.

[1] Xu Liyuan, Wang Dong, Zhong Taidi, Clinical Study on Electroacupuncture for Pain After Cesarean Section, Journal of New Chinese Medicine, January 2021.


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