The studied question refers to the use of acupuncture in comparison to opioid medicine when treating chronic pain in adults from 40 to 60 years of age. Opioid medicine is often prescribed as the primary treatment of chronic pain. Due to an ongoing opioid crisis in the United States, researchers are interested in finding new ways of treating conditions associated with persisting pain. One of the proposed alternative methods, which is being widely researched, is acupuncture. The purpose of this essay is to evaluate the effects of this intervention on chronic pain by examining two studies that reveal the positive correlation between the variables.
Opioids are addictive and can lead to drug misuse, which is relatively common among patients. Furthermore, they are associated with such detrimental consequences as injury and death (Davis et al., 2018). In contrast, Davis et al. (2018) suggested that acupuncture is at low risk of serious side effects. The research involved 156 participants, 91% of which reported improvement in their physical and mental conditions after a series of acupuncture treatments (Davis et al., 2018). Additionally, due to this intervention, 32% of participants undergoing opioid treatment reported a reduction in use (Davis et al., 2018). Therefore, acupuncture proves not only effective but is also successful at decreasing drug use, which is important amidst an opioid crisis.
The evidence for the use of acupuncture as a treatment of chronic pain is substantial. The research conducted by He et al. (2020) extracted data from more than 2000 studies and found a positive effect on reducing pain intensity in cancer patients. The research focused on a specific condition and, therefore, also incorporated non-chronic pain. The results, however, focused on the effectiveness of the intervention in combating both kinds of pain (He et al., 2020). Considering the large research data regarding the positive trend of acupuncture in reducing different types of pain symptoms, this method can serve as beneficial for various conditions.
In comparison to opioid medicine, acupuncture is a safer and more successful treatment for long-lasting pain conditions. Research has not found prominent side effects of its use, and therefore, it does not harm one’s well-being any further. Additionally, this treatment positively improves the mental and physical health of patients. To address the USA opioid crisis, acupuncture can be considered an alternative to the usual treatment of chronic and acute pain.
Davis, R. T., Badger, G., Valentine, K., Cavert, A., & Coeytaux, R. R. (2018). Acupuncture for chronic pain in the Vermont Medicaid population: A prospective, pragmatic intervention trial. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 7. Web.
He, Y., Guo, X., May, B. H., Zhang, A. L., Liu, Y., Lu, C., Mao, J. J., Xue, C. C., & Zhang, H. (2020). Clinical evidence for association of acupuncture and acupressure with improved cancer pain. JAMA Oncology, 6(2), 271-278. Web.
|Study 1||Study 2|
|Citation: (i.e., author(s), date of publication, & title) |
Level of Evidence
|He, Y., Guo, X., May, B. H., Zhang, A. L., Liu, Y., Lu, C., Mao, J. J., Xue, C. C., & Zhang, H. (2020). Clinical evidence for association of acupuncture and acupressure with improved cancer pain. JAMA Oncology, 6(2), 271. Web. |
|Davis, R. T., Badger, G., Valentine, K., Cavert, A., & Coeytaux, R. R. (2018). Acupuncture for chronic pain in the Vermont Medicaid population: A prospective, pragmatic intervention trial. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 7. Web. |
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|Design/ Method|| || |
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|Major Variables Studied and |
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|Measurement of Major Variables|| || |
open-ended questionnaires examining the physical and mental conditions before and after ACU
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|Study Findings|| || |
|Strength of the Evidence (i.e., level of evidence + quality [study strengths and weaknesses|| || |
ACU – acupuncture
CP – chronic pain