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Complement Ther Med. 2006 Mar;14(1):47-52. Epub 2005 Aug 16.

The therapeutic efficacy of somatic acupuncture is not increased by auriculotherapy: a randomised, blind control study in cervical myofascial pain.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Anesthesiology, University of Padova, Italy. istaneri@unipd.it


Auriculotherapy (ear acupuncture) is a therapeutic technique in which points on the auricle are stimulated with needles. Usually it is combined with somatic acupuncture because of possible synergy, although the efficacy of this pairing has neither been confirmed nor disproved. The aim of this study was to verify: (1) if somatic acupuncture can reduce myofascial cervical pain; (2) if concomitant auriculotherapy improves the efficacy of somatic acupuncture. A group of 62 patients affected by cervical myofascial pain was randomly divided into two groups of 31. Group A (6 males and 25 females) underwent eight sessions of somatic acupuncture. Group B (7 males and 24 females) underwent eight sessions of somatic acupuncture in the same way as group A, paired with auriculotherapy. Pain was scored using the McGill Pain Questionnaire before and at the end of treatment, and 1 and 3 months later. The results showed that both somatic acupuncture and somatic plus ear acupuncture have a positive effect in reducing pain. The pain intensity score was 40.70 +/- 17.78 in group A before therapy and 13.32 +/- 9.62 after therapy; in group B it was 38.90 +/- 15.31 and 13.43 +/- 10.96. Somatic plus auriculotherapy was therefore not statistically significantly superior to somatic therapy alone in the treatment of cervical myofascial pain.

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