Acupuncture and moxibustion relieve post-stroke shoulder pain

Background: In China, 45% of stroke patients suffer from poststroke shoulder pain, which brings about many obstacles to further rehabilitation. To date, there have been a few studies evaluating the effects of acupuncture or massage in treating poststroke shoulder pain, and good effects have been shown. However, better clinical treatments are still needed.

Objective: To explore a more effective treatment for poststroke shoulder pain, the clinical effects of moxibustion plus acupuncture were assessed.

Methods: Sixty patients were randomly divided into the control and intervention groups. The control group received a standard stroke treatment protocol including acupuncture, and the intervention group was given moxibustion in addition to this treatment. The visual analog scale (VAS), National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), Fugl-Meyer motor assessment, Barthel Index, and 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD-17) were applied, and differences were analyzed.

Results: After 4 weeks of treatment, compared with the control group, the intervention group demonstrated significant improvement in Fugl-Meyer motor assessment and HAMD-17 (both <.01) as well as in the VAS, NIHSS and Barthel Index (all <.05).

Conclusion: Moxibustion plus acupuncture treatment can alleviate poststroke shoulder pain, improve upper limb motor function and the ability to perform activities of daily living, and relieve patients’ depression.


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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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