A systematic review by Australian authors has shown the effectiveness of ear acupuncture delivered for the purpose of pain relief in a hospital emergency department setting. The treatment was helpful when given either on its own, or as an adjunct to other pain relief measures. Six randomised trials and two observational studies, involving a total of 458 patients, were included in the analysis, which suggested that ear acupuncture can provide clinically meaningful analgesia for acute pain conditions in the emergency department. The treatment was also assessed to have other potential benefits, such as low risk and cost, reasonable application time, improved patient satisfaction, and non-interference with other necessary procedures.
The authors conclude that while study numbers were limited, ear acupuncture significantly reduces pain scores and has potential benefits for use in the emergency department. Further studies will define acupuncture’s role and if it reduces use of analgesic medications.
(Does Ear Acupuncture Have a Role for Pain Relief in the Emergency Setting? A Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis. Medical Acupuncture, October 2017.)