Current treatment for calcific tendonitis consists of arm rest, antiinflammatory medications, and corticosteroid injections. If unsuccessful, a lot of clinicians suggest several physiotherapy modalities, such as shockwave therapy and electrotherapy. The purpose of our study was to assess the efficacy of electroacupuncture, as a substitute for failed medical treatment in calcific tendonitis.
In a pilot study, we prospectively followed 10 patients treated with electroacupuncture for calcific tendonitis who failed to respond to medical treatment. Its efficacy was assessed by evaluating the level of pain, the Beck Depression Inventory, the range of active elbow mobility, and by repeated radiological evaluation of the course of calcific deposits. All clinical and radiological observations were recorded before and within 6 months after the onset of treatment.
After electroacupuncture treatment (2 Hz, 180 mA for 30–60 seconds at GB21, GB34, LI4, LI 14, LI15, TW5, TW14, Chien Chien SI9, SI12, S37, S38), the visual analog score decreased notably, and the range of motion returned to normal. Radiological evaluation demonstrated almost complete absorption of calcific deposits within 6 months, after treatment.
We conclude that electroacupuncture relieved skeletal pain, improved the quality of patient’s life, and contributed to total regression of the calcific depositions in followed patients. So, electroacupuncture may be a valuable treatment option for calcific tendonitis, when medical treatment fails to relieve symptoms.