Background Diabetic neuropathic pain can severely influence quality of life, and patients may be dissatisfied with treatment.
Objective To carry out an observational study of the effects of acupuncture for the treatment of diabetic neuropathic pain, in preparation for a full study.
Methods Nine patients with diabetic neuropathic pain were recruited from a Korean diabetic clinic and given 12 sessions of acupuncture over 4 weeks. Their symptoms were evaluated using the Total Symptom Score (TSS) and Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument (MNSI) at baseline and 4 weeks after the last treatment.
Results Mean TSS scores reduced from 7.99 (SD 3.55) at baseline to 4.95 (SD 4.41), at the 8-week follow-up—a statistically non-significant change (p=0.057). The MNSI scores improved from 6.33 (SD 1.31) before treatment to 4.33 (SD 3.00) after acupuncture treatment—a significant improvement (p=0.010). One participant experienced an exacerbation of diabetic neuropathy symptoms, but two patients gained complete relief of their diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) symptoms.
Conclusions The results of this study justify further investigations into the effects of acupuncture on DPN.