Does Acupuncture have a place in the theatre? Well, a recent article on the website Philly Voice says that “One new study suggests that giving patients acupuncture during total joint replacement procedures reduces their pain, leading to the need for fewer opioids for postoperative pain.”
The researchers found that 65% of study patients who received acupuncture during total knee replacement surgeries only needed a low dose of opioids – 15 oxycodone pills or less – for postoperative pain or none at all. By comparison, that was true of just 9% of knee replacement patients outside the study.
Opioid use for pain management during and after surgical procedures is a known driver of opioid addiction and fatal overdoses. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a record 93,000-plus overdose deaths last year — a 29% increase from 2019’s record-breaking death toll. Overdose deaths from opioids rose from 50,963 in 2019 to 69,710 in 2020.
Philadelphia recorded 1,214 overdose deaths in 2020, according to the Department of Public Health. That total, the second-highest in city history, was a 6% increase from 2019. Of the deaths, 86% involved an opioid such as heroin, oxycodone, or fentanyl.
“Total knee replacements are one of the most common operative procedures in the United States and often very painful, so there’s a great need to explore non-opioid pain relief techniques for this type of surgery,” said Dr Stephanie Cheng, an anesthesiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery and a professor of clinical anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine.
“Acupuncture is extremely safe and can help reduce pain with few unwanted side effects, but it has not been well researched as part of surgical anaesthesia.”
The Medical Express wrote that “Patients who have acupuncture during total knee replacement surgery report less pain and need far fewer opioids to manage their discomfort, according to a study being presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2021 annual meeting. Results of the study showed that 65% of patients who received acupuncture during surgery achieved a low-dose or opioid-free postoperative experience, compared to 9% of patients outside of the study.”
2.3 million acupuncture treatments are carried out each year, traditional acupuncture is one of the most popular complementary therapies practised in the UK today. Yet statistics show that 1 in 5 of us would only consider acupuncture for sleep as a last resort. Almost a quarter of people admit they didn’t realise acupuncture could benefit them despite its widely recognised health benefits. It is also now available on the NHS.
Traditional acupuncture is a natural system of healing that has been practised for over 2,500 years. It is a safe and effective treatment that involves inserting sterile needles, no bigger than human hair, painlessly at specific points on the body.
Also, check out these 8 Benefits of Acupuncture for Pain Relief.