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October 2022

Pain. 1983 Dec; 17(4): 361-8.

Acupuncture compared with placebo in post-herpetic pain.

Lewith GT, Field J, Machin D.

A single blind randomised controlled study of auricular and body acupuncture compared with placebo (mock transcutaneous nerve stimulation) was performed in 62 patients with post-herpetic neuralgia. There was no difference in the amount of pain relief recorded in the two groups during or after treatment; 7 patients in the placebo group and 7 patients in the acupuncture group experienced significant improvement in their pain at the end of treatment. This suggests that acupuncture is of little value as an analgesic therapy for post-herpetic neuralgia. However the study method and the use of a mock transcutaneous nerve stimulator as a placebo may be of value when assessing the effects of acupuncture in other conditions.

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