Jim Galbiati, M.Ac.
Sung YF, Kutner MIl, Cerine FC and Frederickson EL (1977)
Comparison of the effects of acupuncture and codeine on postoperative dental pain,
Anesth Anaig... Curr Res 56:473-478.
Type of Study: The study tested the use of Acupuncture and codeine, together and separately with cross-controls, for the alleviation of acute postoperative dental surgery pain.
Research Design: Forty patients who had just had a dental surgical procedure were randomly assigned to receive acupuncture and codeine, acupuncture and placebo codeine, control needling and codeine, or control needling and placebo medication. Acupuncture consisted of bilateral needling at a single point on the hand for one 15 minute session. Control needling involved bilateral insertion of a single needle at a site close to the first point, but not at a known acupuncture point. Pain was assessed on a 0 - 3 scale as soon as the lidocaine from the dental surgery had worn off, and at every 30 minutes for a further 3 hours.
Results: Groups were comparable at the baseline post-surgical pain assessment. While codeine produced a clear relief of pain regardless of whether acupuncture or control needling was applied, the acupuncture treatment produced significantly better pain relief in the first 1 1/2 hours following treatment than did the control needling. The acupuncture plus codeine group showed significantly more pain relief than all other groups during the last 1 hour of pain assessments.
Summary: This study demonstrates the common observation
that acupuncture treatment can improve
the effectiveness of pain medication.
In both the immediate period and the period
several hours later, acupuncture treatment proved beneficial. This supports the routine
use of acupuncture for management of post-surgical pain.