Author(s): Lin WC, Yeh CH, Chien LC, Morone NE, Glick RM,
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Abstract Background. Auricular point acupressure (APA) is a promising treatment for pain management. Few studies have investigated the physiological mechanisms of APA analgesics. Method. In this pilot randomized clinical trial (RCT), a 4-week APA treatment was used to manage chronic low back pain (CLBP). Sixty-one participants were randomized into a real APA group (n = 32) or a sham APA group (n = 29). Blood samples, pain intensity, and physical function were collected at baseline and after 4 weeks of treatment. Results. Subjects in the real APA group reported a 56\% reduction of pain intensity and a 26\% improvement in physical function. Serum blood samples showed (1) a decrease in IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, and calcitonin gene-related peptide [CGRP] and (2) an increase in IL-4. In contrast, subjects in the sham APA group (1) reported a 9\% reduction in pain and a 2\% improvement in physical function and (2) exhibited minimal changes of inflammatory cytokines and neuropeptides. Statistically significant differences in IL-4 and CGRP expression between the real and sham APA groups were verified. Conclusion. These findings suggest that APA treatment affects pain intensity through modulation of the immune system, as reflected by APA-induced changes in serum inflammatory cytokine and neuropeptide levels.
This article was published in Evid Based Complement Alternat Med
and referenced in Alternative & Integrative Medicine