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September 2022

Am J Chin Med. 1988 ; 16(1-2): 67-70.

Ear acupuncture using semi-permanent needles: acceptability, prospects and problems in Nigeria.

Umeh B.

Department of Anaesthesia, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu.

Ear acupuncture performed with indwelling auricular semi-permanent (ASP) needles, was used for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain and stiffness in 55 Nigerians. The male patients were initially reluctant to have an ASP needle stuck in their auricle, because they feared that the needle would attract embarrassing comments. No female objected to the use of these needles. The longest time an ASP needle remained in situ was 28 days (in a male), while the shortest time was 2 days. There was no associated ear lobe infection or scarification. All seventeen patients with acute torticollis had significant relief of pain and stiffness within 24 hours, scoring less than 25% (residual pain) on the visual analogue scale (VAS). Contrary to speculation auriculo acutherapy using the indwelling needles is acceptable to the Nigerian (male and female). The tropical weather does not necessarily predispose to infection at the site of needle, insertion, provided the area is kept dry. The technique is useful for the relief of musculoskeletal pain and stiffness, and permits the patient to continue self acutherapy at home without the need to return to the clinic. However, these needles are disposable and have to be imported. There is therefore the problem of availability.

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