Background. Acupuncture alleviates acute and chronic shoulder pain. Yet it has not been determined whether acupuncture is useful following musculoskeletal surgery. Hypothesis: Compared to sham acupuncture, arthroscopic acromioplasty subjects who received real acupuncture would manifest significantly better recovery as demonstrated by: UCLA shoulder scale, improved range of motion, diminished pain, decreased need and duration of analgesic use, and enhanced patient satisfaction.
Methods. Forty arthroscopic acromioplasty patients were randomized to real or sham acupuncture. UCLA shoulder scale scores, pain intensity, analgesic use, range of motion, and quality of life were monitored for four months. Data were analyzed with the general linear model ANOVA for repeated measures.
Results. Thirty-five subjects completed the study. Real acupuncture subjects scored significantly better on UCLA shoulder scale (p < 0.000); pain intensity (p < 0.022); self-reported analgesic use (p < 0.008); angles of abduction (p < 0.046); and in six of eight health status questionnaire components.
Conclusions. Following arthroscopic acromioplasty, real acupuncture compared to sham acupuncture offered significantly greater improvement via: (1) lower pain level, (2) less analgesic use, (3) range of motion, and (4) patient satisfaction. © 2003 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.