Acupuncture reduces pain and speeds mobilisation after caesarean

Acupuncture is a safe and effective means of reducing pain and accelerating mobilisation of patients after caesarean delivery, according to research carried out in Germany. One hundred and twenty women scheduled for elective caesarean delivery under spinal anaesthesia were randomised to either an acupuncture group or a placebo group. A further 60 consecutive patients who received standard postoperative analgesia were selected as a non-randomised standard care group. In addition to standard pain treatment, each patient in the acupuncture group received auricular and body acupuncture with indwelling intradermal needles, whereas patients in the placebo group were treated with non-penetrating placebo needles. Four ear acupuncture points Kidney (MA-SC), Shen Men (MA-TF1), Lung (MA-IC1) and Subcortex (MA-AT1) were needled bilaterally with indwelling needles taped in place. For body acupuncture, Hegu L.I.-4, Zusanli ST-36, Sanyinjiao SP-6, Dachangshu BL-25, Guanyuanshu BL-26, and Xiaochangshu BL-27 were needled bilaterally with indwelling intradermal needles taped in place. Needles were placed in the morning before surgery and retained in situ for three days following delivery.  Patients were instructed to stimulate the acupuncture needles by massaging them whenever they felt pain. Mean pain intensity on movement in the acupuncture group on the first postoperative day was lower than in both the placebo and the standard care groups. Additionally, on the first postoperative day, 59 patients (98%) in the acupuncture group were fully mobilised versus 83% of patients in the placebo group and 58% of patients in the standard care group. Mobilisation and Foley catheter removal was achieved on the first postoperative day in 93% of patients from the acupuncture group versus 72% from the placebo group and 70% from the standard care group. Other parameters were comparable across the three study groups.

Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Pain Control After Caesarean Delivery: A Randomised Clinical Trial. JAMA Network Open. 2022 Feb 1;5(2):e220517.