Acupuncture Painkilling Relief for Shingles
Acupuncture relieves pain due to shingles, reduces the need for painkillers, speeds the healing of herpes zoster lesions, and reduces the incidence of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine researchers combined acupuncture with standard Meds therapy. Patients receiving both Medicine therapy and acupuncture in a combined treatment protocol had superior patient outcomes compared with patients using only Meds therapy.
Three-month follow-up examinations determined that the incident rate of postherpetic neuralgia plummeted to 3.33% in the group receiving acupuncture plus Meds therapy. The group receiving only Meds therapy had a PHN incident rate of 30%. The addition of acupuncture to the treatment protocol decreased the PHN rate by 26.67%.
The VAS (Visual Analogue Scale) scores in the acupuncture plus Meds group were significantly better. The addition of acupuncture to Meds therapy decreased pain levels, patients required fewer painkillers, and herpetic lesions healed faster. The researchers conclude that the combination of acupuncture plus Meds therapy is safe and effective for the treatment of acute herpes zoster (shingles).
The study design was as follows. A total of 78 patients were randomly distributed into a control group and a treatment group, each consisting of 39 cases. The control group received Meds therapy. The treatment group received acupuncture plus the same Meds therapy administered to the control group. All patients were diagnosed with acute herpes zoster between June 2014 and December 2015.
The statistical breakdown for each randomized group was as follows. The average age in the treatment group was 54.21 (±24.07) years. The average course of disease in the treatment group was 2.46 (±0.84) days. The average age in the control group was 54.72 (±24.16) years. The average course of the disease was 2.41 (±0.89) days. There were no significant statistical differences in terms of age, gender, and course of disease-relevant to patient outcome measures.
Patients from both groups consumed 0.5 g of oral famciclovir tablets (3 times per day, for 7 consecutive days), as well as 1–2 tablets of oral tramadol (3 times per day, for 10–12 consecutive days). Famciclovir is a guanosine analogue antiviral Medicine used for the treatment of herpes zoster. Tyring et al. note, “Oral famciclovir . . . is an effective and well-tolerated therapy for herpes zoster that decreases the duration of the disease’s most debilitating complication, postherpetic neuralgia.” Tramadol is an opioid pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe pain. In addition, the patients received a neurotropin injection, once per day, for 10–12 days. Neurotropin is a Meds made from inoculated, inflamed rabbit skin that is used for the treatment of neuropathic pain. The treatment group received acupuncture in addition to the aforementioned Meds therapy.
Patients receiving acupuncture plus herbs had a significantly faster recovery rate. Eradication of the herpes zoster lesions was faster for patients receiving acupuncture plus herbs than for patients taking acyclovir. Acupuncture plus herbs had a faster effective action for the relief of pain. In addition, the acupuncture plus herbs group had a 17.14% greater total effective rate than the meds therapy group.
The Hubei Medicine College researchers employed the use of a surround acupuncture procedure. Placement of acupuncture needles surrounded the areas of the herpes zoster lesions. The needles were separated from each other by 2 – 5 cm. Jiaji acupoints were added at corresponding levels of lesion presentations. The total needle retention time was 30 minutes per acupuncture session. The herbal formula administered to all patients in the form of a decoction included the following Chinese medicinal herbs。
Research indicates that acupuncture is an effective means of alleviating herpes zoster pain. Acupuncture contributes to faster healing times. The combination therapy of meds plus acupuncture demonstrates clinically superior patient outcomes to patients receiving only meds therapy. Based on the evidence, patients are best served with an integrated treatment protocol of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and meds therapy.
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