This significantly large study of 130 patients was recorded in the Pain Journal. All patients suffered from shoulder pain, with a range of western diagnoses including; cuff tendonitis, bicipital tendonitis, capsulitis, etc.
The patients were randomly assigned to two groups. One group received ‘true acupuncture ’, and the other group received ‘sham acupuncture’.
In this latter group, retractable placebo needles were used. These needles are similar to a ‘stage dagger’, the patients feel the initial needle pressure but the needles do not penetrate the skin. Electro-acupuncture was also applied, but in the ‘sham acupuncture’ group, it was not therapeutic treatment.
Blinded assessment was made at seven weeks, three months, and six months from treatment. Thus, long-term effects could be assessed.
The pain visual analogue scale (VAS) score fell by 43% in the acupuncture group compared to 20% in the controls by the seventh week, an effect which was maintained at both subsequent assessments.
Similar improvements were recorded in the Lattinen Index, pain and disability, range of movement, analgesic consumption and quality of life scores.
Ref: Pain 2004; 112: 289-98
General information about shoulder problems.
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