New Delhi: The phobia of needles is something many people will confess to, but, the alternative medicine of acupuncture that involves thin needles being inserted into various points on your body, adheres to effective healing of many health problems.
A new study conducted by researchers RMIT University in Australia has revealed that the form of holistic medicine is also a safe and effective alternative to painkillers in providing long-term relief for patients with severe pain.
Researchers conducted a trial in the emergency departments of four hospitals involving about 528 patients with acute low back pain, migraine or ankle sprains.
Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine.
Patients who identified their level of pain as at least four on a 10-point scale randomly received one of three types of treatment – acupuncture alone, acupuncture plus pharmacotherapy (treatment using drugs) or pharmacotherapy alone.
Researchers noted that one hour after treatment, less than 40 percent of patients across all three groups felt any significant pain reduction, while more than 80 percent continued to have a pain rating of at least four.
However, 48 hours later, the vast majority found their treatment acceptable, with 82.8 percent of acupuncture – only patients saying they would probably or definitely repeat their treatment, compared with 80.8 percent in the combined group, and 78.2 percent in the pharmacotherapy-only group, researchers said.
"Our study has shown acupuncture is a viable alternative, and would be especially beneficial for patients who are unable to take standard pain-relieving drugs because of other medical conditions," said Marc Cohen, professor at RMIT University.
While acupuncture is widely used by practitioners in community settings for treating pain, it is rarely used in hospital emergency departments, researchers said.
"We need to determine the conditions that are most responsive to acupuncture, the feasibility of including the treatment in emergency settings, and the training needed for doctors or allied health personnel," Cohen said.
The study was published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
(With PTI inputs)