Emergency Room Pain Management: Acupuncture vs. Morphine.
Emergency Room pain management: Acupuncture vs. Morphine. The winner will surprise most ER doctors.
The American Journal of Emergency Medicine just published a comparative study of acupuncture versus intravenous morphine in the treatment of pain in an emergency room environment. The results are surprisingly positive for acupuncture.
A randomized, comparative study was created to compare the use of acupuncture to intravenous morphine. The purpose of the study was to treat patients with acute onset of mild to severe pain.
Patients’ outcomes found relief with significant pain reduction. Most patients found pain relief by a minimum 50%. The study analyzed the duration of time it took for patients to see positive results and the occurrence of short-term adverse effects. The study utilized data from 300 patients with pain. Half of the group received acupuncture, the other half received intravenous morphine.
The results from this study were surprising even to this seasoned acupuncture practitioner. While 92% in the acupuncture group saw significant pain reduction, only 78% in the morphine group experienced the same results. Both groups responded positively. One of the surprising results was the time it took for these results to occur. Most patients found reduction in pain between 8-16 minutes with acupuncture. The group that got IV morphine took between 14-28 minutes.
In addition to quicker time and more patients receiving pain relief, acupuncture also had little to no side effects. A small 2% of patients that got acupuncture has some short term side effects while a staggering 56.6% of patient in the morphine group had some side effects.
The study concluded that patients with acute pain in an Emergency Department setting, acupuncture was more effective and had faster pain benefits with better tolerance than intravenous drug therapy.
We hope that this study starts to show how modern medicine can use acupuncture in acute pain situations. As most of the major hospitals in the Detroit area provide acupuncture in some form in there respective facilities, most are in a clinical setting. This surprising study might help generate these health systems to integrate more acupuncture services in the ER.