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Study Shows Acupuncture Beats Morphine for Pain Management

Monday, December 11th 2023 10:00am 3 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

A recent groundbreaking research published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine titled, “Acupuncture vs. intravenous morphine in the management of acute pain in the ED,” has discovered that acupuncture, an age-old pain treatment method, proves to be more effective, quicker in alleviating pain, and has fewer side effects compared to intravenous morphine.

This study spanned one year and took place at Fattouma Bourguiba University Hospital in Tunisia, a major healthcare facility that receives over 100,000 Emergency Department (ED) visits annually.

The research comprised 300 ED patients suffering from acute pain: 150 were treated with morphine (given up to 15 mg daily) and 150 underwent acupuncture. Both groups were closely matched in aspects like age, gender, and other health conditions. However, the morphine group had a higher number of abdominal pain patients, while the acupuncture group had more individuals with lower back pain.

The findings were notably significant

The acupuncture group had a success rate of 92% compared to 78% in the morphine group (P b .01). The average time it took to alleviate pain was 16 ± 8 minutes for the acupuncture group and 28 ± 14 minutes for the morphine group, showcasing a significant difference (P b .01). Although the mean pain score difference between the two groups was 7.7, it wasn’t clinically relevant since the researchers established a minimal clinically significant difference of 13. In the morphine group, the average total dose administered was 0.17 ± 0.08 mg/Kg.

The acupuncture group reported a noticeably larger decrease in pain from the 5-minute mark when compared to the morphine group, a trend that persisted throughout the study. Both groups exhibited insignificant variations in blood pressure, HR, RR, and oxygen saturation.

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