The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Acupuncture plus physiotherapy for painful shoulder

    Researchers in Spain evaluated single-point acupuncture as an adjunct to physiotherapy to improve shoulder function in patients with unilateral subacromial syndrome.

    First, the details.

    • 425 patients with unilateral subacromial syndrome (chronic bursitis, tendinitis, rotator cuff tears) were assigned to 15 sessions of physiotherapy.
    • During the 3 weeks of treatment, the patients were randomly assigned to once-a-week acupuncture or mock TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation).
    • The primary outcome measure was a change in the Constant-Murley Score (CMS) for functional assessment of the shoulder at 4 weeks after randomization.
      • CMS includes a pain score, functional assessment, range of motion, and strength measures; and is the most commonly used assessment of shoulder disorders.

    And, the results.

    • The average CMS increased by 17 points in the acupuncture-physiotherapy group vs 11 points in the control group — the difference between groups was significant.
    • By the end of the treatment, 53% of the patients in the acupuncture-physiotherapy group had decreased their consumption of pain medicine vs 30% in the control group — a significant difference.

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded, “Single-point acupuncture in association with physiotherapy improves shoulder function and alleviates pain, compared with physiotherapy as the sole treatment. This improvement is accompanied by a reduction in the consumption of analgesic medicaments.”

    4/12/08 20:38 JR

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