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The effect of acupuncture on post-operative oral surgery pain: a pilot study


An important problem with acupuncture research has been the difficulty in designing appropriate control groups. This pilot study attempted to resolve this problem. Ten patients with third molar extractions were assigned to an acupuncture group (n=7) or a placebo acupuncture group (n=3). Pain intensity and length of time to reach moderate pain after dental surgery were recorded by standard patient self-report. Results indicate that subjects treated with acupuncture reported longer pain-free duration times (mean 212min vs 65min) and experienced a 56.5% mean pain reduction compared to those who received placebo acupuncture. Even though the limited sample size reduced statistical power, this pilot study provides a model for placebo acupuncture control that will be utilised in future large-scale clinical acupuncture studies.

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