Studies Find Acupuncture Cuts Post-Surgical Pain

Last week I posted Acupuncture Helps Ease Post-Surgical Ills about a recent study done by Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina which found that Acupuncture, may actually work better than drugs. And patients were happier with the treatment. Here are some excerpts from an article about the great research they are doing at Duke.

By Will Dunham
Oct 16, 2007

“WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The use of acupuncture before and during surgery reduces patients’ post-operative pain as well as the need for pain-killing medication, researchers said on Tuesday.”

They concluded that it is valuable for pain control in surgery patients.

“These patients also required less morphine or other opioid pain medication after surgery, which reduced the side effects like nausea and vomiting from these types of drugs, the researchers said.”

“The use of acupuncture is still very under-appreciated,” Dr. Tong-Joo Gan, vice chairman of Duke’s anesthesiology department, said in a telephone interview.

“Western doctors are typically not trained (in acupuncture) and they really are not familiar with how it works,” Gan said. “I think practitioners such as surgeons and anesthesiologists need to have an open mind.”

“He said numerous studies have looked at acupuncture to reduce post-operative pain, but many of them were not very well done. Gan said his team identified a group of well-controlled studies to judge how well acupuncture worked.”

“I do it all the time,” Gan said. “You give patients the acupuncture about half an hour before surgery and continue during surgery. It can reduce post-operative pain.”

“I think it is generally applicable to a number of different procedures,” Gan said. “In the studies, we looked at abdominal procedures, orthopedic procedures, gynecological procedures.”

The research was presented at a conference of the American Society for Anesthesiology in San Francisco.

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