Acupuncture eases pain after surgical intervention

June 1st, 2008 - 1:42 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, June 1 (IANS) Trying out acupuncture may ease throbbing pain and a dry mouth, especially after a cancerous neck has been operated on, say researchers. For example, the radical neck dissection involves complete removal of lymph nodes, the muscle that helps turn the head, a major vein, and a nerve that is critical to full range of motion for the arm and shoulder.

“Chronic pain and shoulder mobility problems are common after such surgery, adversely affecting quality of life as well as employability for certain occupations,” said David Pfister and Barrie Cassileth of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, who led the study.

“Unfortunately, available conventional methods of treatment for pain and dysfunction following neck surgery often have limited benefits, leaving much room for improvement,” said Pfister.

Seventy patients participated in the study. They were randomised to receive either acupuncture or usual care, which includes recommendations of physical therapy exercises and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

At least three months had elapsed since their surgery and radiation treatments. The treatment group received four sessions of acupuncture over four weeks. Both groups were evaluated using the Constant-Murley scale, a composite measure of pain, function, and activities of daily living.

“It does not treat illness, but acupuncture can control a number of distressing symptoms, such as shortness of breath, anxiety and depression, chronic fatigue, pain, neuropathy, and osteoarthritis,” said Cassileth.

Pfister presented the findings of the study at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology.

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