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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Dec 2;2018:9125746. doi: 10.1155/2018/9125746. eCollection 2018.

Therapeutic Effect of Superficial Acupuncture in Treating Myofascial Pain of the Upper Trapezius Muscle: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

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Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Keelung, Taiwan.
School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan.
School of Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Taipei, Taiwan.
Graduate Institute of Health Industry Technology, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Taoyuan, Taiwan.
Department of Finance, Chaoyang University of Technology, Taichung, Taiwan.


The aim of this study was to compare the treatment efficacies of superficial acupuncture and traditional acupuncture on trigger points of the upper trapezius muscle. Forty people were recruited and randomly allocated to the traditional and superficial acupuncture groups. Each subject received two treatments per week in a four-week period. Outcomes were measured by visual analogue scale (VAS), the Northwick Park neck pain questionnaire scores (NPQ), and pressure pain threshold (PPT) assessments of trigger points. Data collected before the interventions were considered as baseline. Assessments were performed after the first treatment and at the end of the second and fourth weeks of treatment. Patients reported significant (p<0.05) and immediate improvements in VAS and PPT for both superficial acupuncture and traditional acupuncture after the first treatment and after two and four weeks. Significant improvements (p<0.05) in NPQ were attained after two weeks of treatments in both groups. Because superficial acupuncture is associated with less pain while producing immediate pain relief, we recommend it for treating myofascial pain syndrome in the upper trapezius muscle.

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