Study Says Acupuncture Is "Safe and Effective" for Kids
Acupuncture can be an effective way to treat chronic pain in children, according to new research at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
Chronic pain is defined as any pain that lasts at least 12 weeks. It is estimated that around 20 to 35 percent of children and teenagers across the globe have some form of chronic pain. Finding relief with children with chronic pain has been more difficult than for adults.
The study, published in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies, suggests that acupuncture, which has proven to be effective in treating chronic pain in adults, may have similar results in children.
The researchers looked at 55 children and adolescents between the ages of seven and 20, all of whom had chronic pain conditions. Each participant attended eight sessions in which he or she received an individually tailored acupuncture treatment, lasting around 30 minutes.
Using what's known as the Adolescent Pediatric Pain Tool (APPT), participants rated their pain and nausea before and after each treatment.
The results, published in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies, found that all the children reported a significant reduction in pain throughout the entire eight sessions and from the beginning to end of each individual session -- with greater pain reduction reported in the earlier sessions.
In addition, the researchers said they found patients showed improvements in overall health and reductions in social, emotional and educational problems.
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