Acupuncture and Face Pain
16 May 2008
(i) A retrospective study of 201 patients treated for facial pain by acupuncture over a 10-year period at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, Scotland, showed that overall 62.7% reported improvement. For those with temperomandibular joint/muscle pain, 46% were cured out of 61% who benefited. For those with trigeminal neuralgia, 62.9% reported improvement. The author, Nazim Merchant, Consultant Oral & Maxillo-Facial Surgeon, concludes that acupuncture has a significant role to play in the treatment of facial pain. For patients with temperomandibular joint or muscle pain, acupuncture may be the only treatment required, whilst in the case of trigeminal neuralgia, although acupuncture did not completely relieve the pain, it allowed a reduction in the dose of carbamazepine. The acupuncture method used relied mainly on local or trigger points. (Acupuncture in Medicine, Nov 1995 VOL X111 No2, 67-70).
(ii) Pain tolerance in the masticatory muscles of patients suffering from chronic myofascial pain has been found to increase significantly with acupuncture when compared with sham acupuncture. Acupuncture at Hegu L.I.-4 was compared with blunt, non-penetrating sham in 15 chronic myofascial pain subjects who were asked to clench their teeth for two minutes. A statistically significant difference in pain tolerance was found with real acupuncture. (The short-term effects of acupuncture on myofascial pain patients after clenching. Pain Pract. 2007 Sep;7(3):256-64).