Monday, November 10, 2014

Chronic Pain and Aging

A good part of my acupuncture practice is patients over 60.  (I'm almost 60 myself!)  They often present with many complex conditions in addition to their pain. 

Diabetes, cancer, and other conditions are present and yet they need additional support for their pain.  Often I'm asked if there is evidence that acupuncture will help them.  Here is a study from PubMed to address that question.

 2014 Nov 5. [Epub ahead of print]

Effective chronic low back pain and knee pain treatment with acupuncture in geriatric patients.



The most common disease of the older age group in Turkey is degenerative articular disease and pain associated with the disease. Analgesics and physical therapy are preferred treatment for geriatric chronic pain but suffering from multiple medical and nutritional problems in old ages can limit treatment options with analgesics due to an increased risk of adverse effects and drug interactions.


We aim to show the effect of acupuncture on back-pain and knee-pain treatment of elderly people.


The study includes 34 patients, 24 female and 8 male. The mean age was 69.0417 ± 8.95 years for females and 73.12 ± 8.95.24 years for males. Every two days for a total of 10 sessions acupuncture treatment to Yintang, Ht 7 (Shenmen), LI 4 (Hegu), Ki 3 (Taixi) and Ki 6 were found to significantly reduce pain scores of patients.


Mean back pain scores (8.8696 ± 1.546) and mean knee pain scores (9.1304 ± 1.4239) of patients were reduced significantly to 2.1739 ± 1.466 and 1.455 ± 0.7; p< 0.001 respectively after the acupuncture treatment.


These are important results as they give rationale to use acupuncture treatment widely in chronic low back pain and knee pain in the geriatric group of patients to reduce the side effects of polypharmacy in elderly.