This is an interesting study that I found recently. It shows the effectiveness of acupuncture for pain from kidney stones. The study shows two interesting surprises. The first is that the time it took for the pain relief to be noticed by the patient is faster than pain medication by 50% (14 minutes vs 28 minutes). I would have expected the medication to introduce a heavier sedation effect in a shorter amount of time than acupuncture. The next thing I found interesting is the high level of side effects recorded from pain medication vs acupuncuture (3 patients experienced minor side effects with acupuncture vs 42 patients receiving the pain medication). Although it shouldn’t surprise me that there was a high level of side effects noted with the use of medications, it is a high level that validates the use of acupuncture when necessary.
With the serious concerns we have for the use of opioids for pain relief, the idea of using acupuncture for treating pain in the Emergency Room, is a very novel idea. I can definitely support this concept. Unfortunately, the study has a few flaws that need to worked out. These include sample size, the use of the VAS for recording pain (too subjective), and the duration was very short for the effects to be studied. This isn’t the worst for the study given, but they should be addressed in the future.
Now this study is very much “in the weeds” for reviewing, but if you’re up to the challenge, then check out this link!