An acupuncture clinic was established, for a limited period, within a rheumatology department of Barnet and Chase Farm Hospital Trust. Courses of six to eight sessions of traditional and trigger-point acupuncture were offered for a specified range of conditions. Pain and use of analgesics were measured routinely. A prospective observational study is presented of the outcome for a series of 41 patients, who had a mean age of 57 years and pain duration of 3 years. The mean score for daytime pain fell from 6.8 (SD 1.2) to 4.9 (2.5) points which is highly significant (p < 0.001). A total of 30 patients (73%) had reduction in pain of at least 33% and 22 patients (54%) had a reduction in pain of at least 50%. Analgesic intake (without distinguishing between different analgesic medication) was reduced from a mean of 17 (15.3) tablets per week to a mean of 6 (7.9). Patients with normal X-rays had a much better response to acupuncture than those whose X-rays showed significant degenerative changes. In response to these findings, financial support has been provided to continue the acupuncture clinic.
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