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Acupuncture and electrotherapy are associated with clinically significant reductions in pain and opioid consumption after total knee arthroplasty. American authors of a systematic review evaluated the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions for postoperative pain management, including passive motion, preoperative exercise, cryotherapy, electrotherapy and acupuncture. Data from 39 randomised clinical trials involving 2391 patients were included in their meta-analysis. The researchers found moderate quality evidence that acupuncture and electrotherapy improved post-operative pain management, as well as delaying and reducing opioid use. Acupuncture was most beneficial in reducing pain in the early stages of recovery, but showed less long-term effect. Electrotherapy was found to reduce pain severity both immediately following surgery and up to six months later.

Drug-Free Interventions to Reduce Pain or Opioid Consumption After Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Surg. 2017 Oct 18;152(10):e172872.

 

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