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Neck, Shoulders, & Related Headache


Acupuncture Relieves Chronic Pain in Neck and Shoulders, and Related Headache

Norwegian researchers at the University of Oslo completed a study to assess acupuncture’s effect on chronic neck, shoulder and related headache pain. The subjects in the study who received acupuncture reported less pain than the control group which received sham acupuncture, with the effects still felt three years later.

In the study, 24 female office workers who had been experiencing chronic neck and shoulder pain and related headache for a duration of several years were equally divided into a test group or a control group. The test group was treated with 10 standard sessions of standard acupuncture and acupressure, while the control group received an equal number of sham, or dummy, acupuncture treatments, in which the needles were incorrectly inserted a few millimeters away from the standard insertion points.
The group receiving the real acupuncture reported a 70% decrease in pain intensity during the course of treatments, with the pain still alleviated by half of the pretreatment levels three years later. The sham treatment group reported a slight decrease of pain during treatment, but experienced even greater pain levels three years later than before receiving the treatments.

The study, entitled Effect of acupuncture treatment on chronic neck and shoulder pain in sedentary female workers: a 6-month and 3-year follow-up study, was authored by He D, Veiersted KB, Hostmark AT, and Medbo JI. of the Department of General Practice and Community Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway, and was published in June, 2004 in the peer reviewed journal, Pain.

Source: New York Times, 2004; PubMed

New York Times Article

National Institutes of Healh Article