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IS ACUPUNCTURE AN USEFUL TOOL FOR PAIN-TREATMENT IN OPHTHALMOLOGY?

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Pain that does not responde to conventional treatment procedures makes it necessary to look for alternative methods. Acupuncture is an ancient procedure with empirical effects on pain. Previous studies established the increased output of messangers at neuronal junctions in spinal cord and hypothalamic locations , especially of endorphins which inhibit the perception of pain. We treated several painful symptoms with acupuncture and evaluated the outcome of the treatment. Patients with various kinds of therapy-refractory pain and patients in whom conventional treatment methods could not be applied were included in the study. The diagnoses included glaucoma. Tolosa-Hunt-Syndrome, ophthalmic migraine, blepharospasm, and dry eyes. In one case acupuncture was used for analgesia during surgery.

Acupuncture was performed with sterile disposable needles, at points known to have an empirical analgesic effect. The stimulation was adapted to the patientâ–™s individual needs. VAS assessments before and after acupuncture were compared. The t-test was used for statistical evaluation. Acupuncture had no side effects, but reduced pain to a variable extent. Especially in cases of severe pain and in surgery, very effective pain reduction was achieved. In general, pain was significantly reduced in all patients by the use of acupuncture. A statistically significant effect was noted (p< 0.05). Further studies should be conducted to demonstrate the specific effect in larger patient populations. Monitoring neurotransmitter activity will possibly help to illustrate the effect.
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Keywords: Acupuncture; Orbital pain; Therapy-resistance; Visual analog scale

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dept. of Neurology, Hanusch KH, Vienna, Austria 2: Dept. of Anaesthesia, University Vienna, Austria

Publication date: 01 January 2002

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