Acupuncture may be a useful adjunct to pharmacological pain management after total hip (THR) or total knee replacement (TKR) surgery. Clinicians from the US investigated data from a sample of 2,500 patients undergoing total joint replacement, who were offered elective postsurgical acupuncture (at no additional cost) as an adjunct therapy to opioids for pain management. There was an average 45% reduction in self-reported short-term pain following acupuncture (with 41% of patients reporting moderate/severe pain prior to receiving acupuncture, and only 15% experiencing moderate/severe pain after acupuncture).
Acupuncture Provides Short-Term Pain Relief for Patients in a Total Joint Replacement Program.
Pain Med. 2015 Jan 13. doi: 10.1111/pme.12685.
Use of electro-acupuncture (EA) therapy can increase the time taken for patients to self-administer anaesthetic after total knee arthroplasty (TKA). In a small preliminary study carried out in Taiwan, 47 patients who underwent TKA were randomly divided into three groups: a control group (CG) who received patient-controlled analgesia (PCA), an EA group (EA) who received PCA along with EA applied at Zusanli ST-36 and Yanglingquan GB-34 contralateral to the operated leg (for 30 minutes on the first two postoperative days), and a non-point group (NPG), who received EA at a location one centimetre lateral to both Zusanli ST-36 and Yanglingquan GB-34. The time until patients first required PCA in the CG was 34 minutes, which was significantly shorter than the 92 minutes seen in the EA and 91 minutes in the NPG. There was no effect of EA on the total dosage of PCA required, and no point-specific effect was seen. (
Single-blinded, randomised preliminary study evaluating the effects of 2 Hz electroacupuncture for postoperative pain in patients with total knee arthroplasty.