Acupuncture Therapy as an Evidence-Based Nonpharmacologic Strategy for Comprehensive Acute Pain Care: The Academic Consortium Pain Task Force White Paper Update

Arya Nielsen, Jeffery A. Dusek, Lisa Taylor-Swanson, Heather Tick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: A crisis in pain management persists, as does the epidemic of opioid overdose deaths, addiction, and diversion. Pain medicine is meeting these challenges by returning to its origins: the Bonica model of multidisciplinary pain care. The 2018 Academic Consortium White Paper detailed the historical context and magnitude of the pain crisis and the evidence base for nonpharmacologic strategies. More than 50% of chronic opioid use begins in the acute pain care setting. Acupuncture may be able to reduce this risk. OBJECTIVE: This article updates the evidence base for acupuncture therapy for acute pain with a review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses on postsurgical/perioperative pain with opioid sparing and acute nonsurgical/trauma pain, including acute pain in the emergency department. METHODS: To update reviews cited in the 2018 White Paper, electronic searches were conducted in PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for "acupuncture" and "acupuncture therapy" and "acute pain," "surgery," "peri-operative," "trauma," "emergency department," "urgent care," "review(s) ," "systematic review," "meta-analysis," with additional manual review of titles, links, and reference lists. RESULTS: There are 22 systematic reviews, 17 with meta-analyses of acupuncture in acute pain settings, and a review for acute pain in the intensive care unit. There are additional studies of acupuncture in acute pain settings. CONCLUSION: The majority of reviews found acupuncture therapy to be an efficacious strategy for acute pain, with potential to avoid or reduce opioid reliance. Future multicenter trials are needed to clarify the dosage and generalizability of acupuncture for acute pain in the emergency department. With an extremely low risk profile, acupuncture therapy is an important strategy in comprehensive acute pain care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1582-1612
Number of pages31
JournalPain Medicine
Volume23
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 31 Aug 2022

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