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Electro-acupuncture outperforms biofeedback therapy for treating chronic neck pain, report Iranian researchers. Fifty patients with chronic neck pain diagnosed as myofascial pain syndrome, characterised by trigger points (TrPs) within taut bands, were randomly assigned to two groups. Patients in the acupuncture group were treated with electro-acupuncture (at points chosen from Jianjing GB-21, Fengchi GB-20, Tianliao SJ-15, Tianzong SI-11, Bingfeng SI-12, Hegu L.I.-14, Quchi L.I.-11, Shousanli L.I.-10, Dazhu DU-14, Baihui DU-20, plus three to four additional TrPs around the painful area), while those in the biofeedback group received visual electromyographic-biofeedback therapy for muscle activity and relaxation. Both groups received the intervention twice a week for a total of six sessions. All patients received instruction in basic rehabilitative exercise and had access to standard analgesic medications. All parameters improved significantly in both groups, however the primary outcome, defined as a 20% reduction in three-month neck pain and dysfunction compared to baseline, was achieved by significantly more patients in the acupuncture group (80%t versus 40%). Additional advantages of acupuncture over biofeedback were observed on measures of pain, neck disability, range of motion and pressure pain threshold at all timepoints from the last treatment session to the end of the three-month follow up period.

Relative Effectiveness of Electroacupuncture and Biofeedback in Treatment of Neck and Upper Back Myofascial Pain: a Randomized Clinical Trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2020 Jan 16. pii: S0003-9993(20)30004-6