As the new year begins the opioid epidemic continues to be a significant problem in the United States. Statistics from 2016-2017 provided by the Department of Health and Human Services paint a grim picture- 11.4 million people misused prescription opioids while approximately 2 million abused them for the first time.
Opioid medications are commonly used for post-operative pain, and one of the strategies considered to decrease the use of opioids is to use other drug-free interventions after surgery, in place of opioids.
A study published in 2017 looked at the use of such drug-free therapies to reduce pain after total knee arthroplasty. The research group, affiliated primarily with Stanford University and the University of Bologna (Italy) performed a meta-analysis of 39 random controlled trials, involving nearly 2400 subjects. Five different non-drug interventions were examined, including acupuncture, continuous passive motion, cryotherapy, electrotherapy, and preoperative exercise.
The researchers concluded that there was “modest but clinically significant evidence” that both acupuncture and electrotherapy could potentially reduce and delay the amount of post-operative opioid consumption.
As we look at multiple strategies to stem the tide of opioid abuse, it is encouraging to see research studies again supporting the use of alternative therapies, such as acupuncture.
(Source- JAMA Surgery, 2017; 152 (10))
This blog is a review of published medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.