Trial on neck pain

Am J Chin Med 2002;30(1):13-28 Related Articles, Books, LinkOut


A controlled trial on acupuncture for chronic neck pain.

Zhu XM, Polus B.

Betta Health Medical Center, Chinese Medicine Unite, Chadstone, Vic, Australia. annzhu29@hotmail.com

To evaluate the efficacy of Chinese medicine (CM) acupuncture for chronic neck pain (CNP), a single blind, controlled, crossover, clinical trial was undertaken. Twenty-nine volunteers with CNP were randomly recruited into two groups. Both groups received two phases of treatment with a washout period between the two phases. Group A (14 volunteers) received CM acupuncture in the first phase and sham acupuncture in the second, while Group B (15 volunteers) received sham in the first and real in the second. CM acupuncture was individualized and consisted of nine sessions on both local and distal points. Manual twisting of the needle was applied on all points plus strong electrical stimulation of distal points in CM acupuncture. Sham acupoints (lateral to the real) and sham (weak) electrical stimulation was used in the control group. Comparison of subjective and objective measures between the two groups was made at different periods, including baseline, after each phase of treatment, after washout, and after the 16th week follow-up. The subjective measures included pain intensity, duration per day, analgesic medication count, visual analogue scales (VAS) and neck disability index (NDI). The objective measures consisted of neck range of motion (ROM) and pain threshold (PT). Both the real and sham treatments significantly reduced subjective pain, without significant differences between groups for most subjective measures. Objective measures showed no significant change for either group before and after each period or by inter-groups analysis. A minimum 16-week effect of both real and sham acupuncture was found for subjective measures in the follow-up periods. Further study is recommended with an increased sample size, a longer washout period, and a longer baseline period.

PMID: 12067088 [PubMed - in process]

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