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Auricular acupuncture can reduce pain and insomnia compared with usual care,, report US researchers. Forty-five military veterans who were experiencing chronic pain and insomnia were randomised to either an auricular acupuncture group (AAG) or a usual care group (CG). A standard Battlefield auricular acupuncture (BFA) protocol was administered, using semi-permanent needles. The use of auricular acupuncture in the AAG led to significant within- and between-group reductions in pain severity and interference scores, compared with the CG. Both groups showed within-group decreases in insomnia, and the AAG showed significantly better reductions. The authors point out the benefits of using non-pharmacological treatments in a population which is at high risk of opioid dependence.

Auricular Acupuncture for Chronic Pain and Insomnia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Med Acupunct. 2018 Oct 1;30(5):262-272.

According to US researchers, Battlefield acupuncture (BFA) administered in either a group or individual setting can be effective for immediate pain relief, and holds promise as a non-pharmacological pain-management intervention for military veterans. In a cross-sectional study, 284 veterans with pain received BFA at an outpatient clinic over a 15 month period. Of 753 total patient encounters during that time, an immediate decrease in self-reported pain occurred in 616 patients (82.0%), no change occurred in 73 patients (9.7%), and an increase occurred in 62 patients (8.3%). Decreases in pain were common in both the group and individual settings, even in patients with originally high pain scores, and the effectiveness remained with repeated treatment.

Battlefield Acupuncture in the Veterans Health Administration: Effectiveness in Individual and Group Settings for Pain and Pain Comorbidities. Med Acupunct. 2018 Oct 1;30(5):273-278.

A single Battlefield acupuncture (BFA) treatment has clinically meaningful effects on chronic pain, with the majority of patients reporting decreased pain at least 30 days after treatment. A total of 112 US military veterans attended group outpatient clinics where they received BFA using semi-permanent needles. The mean pre-treatment pain score was 6.8, with an immediate post-procedure decrease of 2.4 points. The proportion of patients reporting decreased pain was 88.4%, 80.7%, 52.4& and 51%, at post-treatment days 0, 1, 7 and 30, respectively.

Group Battlefield Acupuncture in Primary Care for Veterans with Pain. South Med J. 2018 Oct;111(10):619-624.


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