Acupuncture for chronic shoulder pain in persons with spinal cord injury: A small-scale clinical trial

Short Title:
Acupuncture for chronic shoulder pain in persons with spinal cord injury: A small-scale clinical trial
Model System:
Reference Type:
Journal Article
Accession No.:
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):
2007, vol. 88, issue 10, pp 1276-1283
Publication Website:
OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal shoulder pain in subjects with spinal cord injury (SCI). DESIGN: Randomized, double blind (participants, evaluator), placebo (invasive sham) controlled trial. SETTING: Clinical research center. PARTICIPANTS: Seventeen manual wheelchair-using subjects with chronic SCI and chronic musculoskeletal shoulder pain. INTERVENTIONS: Participants were randomly assigned to receive 10 treatments of either acupuncture or invasive sham acupuncture (light needling of nonacupuncture points). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Changes in shoulder pain intensity were measured using the Wheelchair User's Shoulder Pain Index. RESULTS: Shoulder pain decreased significantly over time in both the acupuncture and the sham acupuncture groups (P=.005), with decreases of 66% and 43%, respectively. There was no significant difference between the 2 groups (P=.364). There was, however, a medium effect size associated with the acupuncture treatment. CONCLUSIONS: There appears to be an analgesic effect or a powerful placebo effect associated with both acupuncture and sham acupuncture. There was a medium treatment effect associated with the acupuncture, which suggests that it may be superior to sham acupuncture. This observation, along with the limited power, indicates that a larger, more definitive randomized controlled trial using a similar design is warranted.
Dyson-Hudson, T. A.; Kadar, P.; LaFountaine, M.; Emmons, R.; Kirshblum, S. C.; Tulsky, D.; Komaroff, E.
Author Address(es):
Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Center, West Orange, NJ 07052, USA.

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