Acupuncture for Children
23 April 2008
As part of a paediatric pain management program, acupuncture reduces pain scores by over 5 points on a 10-point scale and improves overall well being, new suggests a new study. Research from the Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, found that acupuncture can be safely and successfully incorporated into paediatric pain management practice. Over a one-year period, 243 children (167 females and 76 males) mean age 14.3 years received an average of 8.4 sessions of acupuncture treatments. At the initial consultation, the chief complaints included pain in the low back, the hips and lower extremities (30%), abdomen (25%), head (23%), neck, shoulder, arm (10%), chest (6%), pelvis (4%), and others (2%).
At the end of the six-week treatment period, mean pain scores decreased from 8.3 to 3.3. In addition, patients reported increased school attendance, improved sleep patterns and increased participation in extracurricular activities. (Presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists Oct.16 2002). Meanwhile a paper in the journal Contemporary Pediatrics has proposed that acupuncture should be used routinely to treat children suffering from chronic pain or nausea. Dr. Kathi Kemper, instructor of medicine at Harvard University Medical School, reports that over half of children with chronic pain that had not responded to orthodox treatment experienced significant pain relief with acupuncture, and that over two thirds of children found acupuncture pleasant rather than painful. The most common reasons the authors recommended acupuncture for children were chronic or severe pain such as migraine headaches, chronic abdominal pain, cancer, endometriosis, nausea and vomiting associated with surgery or chemotherapy. (Contemporary Pediatrics 2002;12:31; UPI).