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A large cohort study, carried out in a population of American military veterans, has found that Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA) is an effective and safe intervention for decreasing short-term pain intensity. Analysis of data from electronic medical records of 11,406 veterans showed that three-quarters had experienced immediate decreases in pain following administration of BFA, with nearly 60% reporting a minimal clinically important difference in pain intensity. The average decrease in pain intensity was 2.5 points (on an 11 point scale) at the initial BFA treatment, and 2.2 points at subsequent treatments. BFA was effective across a wide range of veterans with many having pre-existing chronic pain, or other physical or psychological comorbid conditions. Veterans reporting opioid use in the year before BFA experienced less improvement, with pain intensity scores improving more among Veterans who had not recently used opioids.

Patient Feedback on the Effectiveness of Auricular Acupuncture on Pain in Routine Clinical Care: The Experience of 11,406 Veterans. Med Care. 2020 Sep;58 Suppl 2 9S:S101-S107.