Pain. 1979 Oct; 7(2): 181-5.
Acupuncture: an evaluation in the painful crises of sickle cell anaemia.
An evaluation of acupuncture for pain relief was made in 10 patients with sickle cell anaemia during 16 pain crises. A model was developed in which the patient served as his own control and in which both patient and examiner were unaware of whether an acupuncture point or a sham site was treated. The results show (1) that pain relief was obtained in 15 of the 16 painful episodes regardless of whether an acupuncture point or a sham site was treated, demonstrating considerable overlap between the effects of needling acupuncture points and sham sites; (2) that needling at acupuncture points for pain relief is not significantly superior to treatment at sham sites; (3) that needling, per se, whether at acupuncture points of at sham sites can be useful for alleviating pain in sickle cell crises. The model could be useful for evaluation of pain relief by needling in other diseases.