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Abdominal acupuncture (AA) is an effective treatment for neck pain, according to researchers from Hong Kong. In a randomised trial, 154 participants with neck pain were randomly assigned to receive AA or sham AA (non-penetrating needling of non-acupoints), for six sessions over a two week period. Patients in the AA group received treatment in accordance with a standardised abdominal acupuncture prescription (Zhongwan REN-12, Guanyuan REN-4, bilateral Shangqu KID-17 and bilateral Huaroumen ST-24). The results showed that patients who received AA exhibited greater improvement in neck pain scores than those who received sham treatment at the end of the treatment period (two weeks from baseline) and at follow-up (six weeks from baseline). The improvement in neck pain scores in the AA group was even more significant at 14 weeks from baseline. Patients in the AA group also exhibited significantly greater improvements in pain intensity and quality-of-life measures compared with those in the AA group, without any serious adverse events. Previous studies on chronic pain have suggested that a reduction of approximately two points on an 11-point numerical pain rating scale represents a clinically important difference. In the present study the AA group exhibited a mean improvement of more than two points at all time points.

Efficacy of abdominal acupuncture for neck pain: A randomized controlled trial. PLoS One. 2017 Jul 17;12(7):e0181360.


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