Single-point acupuncture and physiotherapy for the treatment of painful shoulder: a multicentre randomized controlled trial

The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture associated with physiotherapy for patients with painful shoulder.  425 participants with a clinical diagnosis of unilateral subacromial syndrome received 15 sessions of physiotherapy during the 3 weeks that the treatment lasted and were randomized to additionally receive, once a week, acupuncture or mock TENS. The primary outcome measure was the change in the Constant–Murley Score (CMS) for functional assessment of the shoulder, at 4 weeks after randomization. The CMS had increased by 16.6 points among the acupuncture group, compared with 10.6  points in the control group, and the mean difference between the two groups was statistically significant. By the end of the treatment, 53% of the patients in the acupuncture group had decreased their consumption of analgesics, compared with a corresponding 30% among the control group.

Single-point acupuncture in association with physiotherapy improves shoulder function and alleviates pain, compared with physiotherapy as the sole treatment. This improvement is accompanied by a reduction in the consumption of analgesic medicaments.

Rheumatology, 2008, 47(6), 887-893

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