CM NEWS – A famous TCM arthritis drug and expensive mushroom lingzhi have analgesic effects for rheumatoid arthritis, but the long-claimed anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting functions are yet to be substantiated, a new study says. Read more
CM NEWS – Triptolide, an extract of the famous toxic Chinese herb lei gong teng, has the ability to suppress inflammation and cartilage destruction in collagen-induced arthritis mice, a Beijing study reveals.
The study was completed at the Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing. Read more
CM NEWS – Tai Chi, an ancient form of low-impact mind-body Chinese exercise, has been proved to be effective in reducing tension headaches and improving perceptions of physical and mental health, a UCLA study finds. Tai Chi may be an exercise-based alternative to pain killers and thus help cut pain killer addiction among many of us. Read more
AHN – Acupuncture is effective at relieving back and pelvic muscle pain during pregnancy, a common complaint among pregnant women as they enter into the final trimesters. A study has found that one in three pregnant women suffer severe back and pelvic pain as the pregnancy progresses.
This is because the center of gravity of a pregnant woman is off and she has to arch her back to balance her bulging tummy, leading to an extra strain on back and pelvic muscles.
Experts believe that stretching exercises, coupled with special pillows and acupuncture could help relieve back and pelvic pain that often occur during pregnancy.
The study tracked almost 1,500 pregnant women from Sweden, Iran, Brazil, Thailand and Australia and found that those who participated in the suggested exercises involving acupuncture reported a reduction in pain levels.
The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates research in all aspects of health care.
Authors also found that expectant mothers benefited by the use of an Ozzlo pillow – a curved pillow designed to support the pregnant abdomen when lying down and that 60 percent of women trying acupuncture reported a substantial pain relief.
CM NEWS – A group of scientists at the University of Aarhus of Denmark recently published a report of a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial on the effect of acupuncture-like electrical stimulation on chronic tension-type headache. They have demonstrated that such practice might provide a safe and potentially analgesic-sparing therapy to tension headache.
What is tension-type headache? A tension headache is the most common headache, and yet it’s not well understood. A tension headache generally produces a diffuse, usually mild to moderate pain over your head. Many people liken the feeling to having a tight band around their head.
A tension headache may also cause pain in the back of your neck at the base of your skull. A tension headache can last from 30 minutes to an entire week. You may experience these headaches occasionally, or nearly all the time. If your headaches occur 15 or more days a month for several months, they’re considered chronic. Unfortunately, chronic tension headaches sometimes persist for years.
A tension headache may cause you to experience a dull, achy pain or sensation of tightness in your forehead or at the sides and back of your head. In its most extensive form, the pain feels like a hooded cape that drapes down over the shoulders. The headache is usually described as mild to moderately intense. The severity of the pain varies from one person to another, and from one headache to another in the same person. Many people report that the pain starts first thing in the morning or late in the day when work stress or conflict at home is anticipated.
In the study, 36 patients (18 men, 18 women) with chronic tension-type headache in accordance with the criteria of International headache Society were investigated. The patients were randomly assigned into 2 groups: a treatment group and a placebo group. Pain duration, pain intensity on a 0 to 10 cm visual analog scale, number of headache attacks, and use of medication were recorded in a diary for 2 weeks before treatment (baseline), early stage of treatment (Treat-1; 2 wk), late stage of treatment (Treat-2; 4 wk), and after the end of treatment (Post-1, Post-2, Post-3 corresponding to 2, 4, and 6-wk follow-up).
The patients also provided an overall evaluation of the treatment effect at each stage. Patients were taught how to use either an acupuncture-like electrical stimulator or a sham stimulator (identical but incapable of delivering an electric current) and then instructed to use the device at home.
Six acupoints, bilateral EX-HN5, GB 20, LI 4, were selected to be stimulated 3 minutes for each point, twice a day.
The results showed that the pain duration was shortened at Treat-1 and pain intensity was decreased at Treat-1 and Treat-2 compared with baseline. The overall evaluation of the 2 treatments indicated improvements in both the treatment and the placebo groups, but with no significant difference between the groups (P>0.061).
Despite the apparent improvement in both the treatment and placebo groups, a decrease in analgesic use was only observed in the treatment group. There was also a significant positive correlation between the reported intensity of the stimulus-evoked sensation and the evaluation of the effect of either active or placebo treatments (P=0.039).
In conclusion, the researchers said that the use of acupuncture-like electrical stimulation was not associated with significant adverse effects. These results indicate that acupuncture-like electrical stimulation is a safe and potentially analgesic-sparing therapy that may be considered as an adjunctive treatment for patients with chronic tension-type headache although the clinical effect on pain seems to be marginal in the present set-up.
American Chronicle – A recent study done in Italy and reported in the Journal of Traditional Chinese medicine compared the effect of acupuncture for migraine headaches versus conventional pain killer therapy.
One of the most interesting features of this study is that each patient was given a complete examination prior to the start of the test. This allowed the acupuncture therapy to be tailored to the individual causation of each patient’s condition.
There is no cookie cutter acupuncture treatment that is correct for everyone. When a study is done using the exact same points for the exact same duration, the results are going to be skewed and worthless.
What are the symptoms of migraines? Not all migraines are preceded by preliminarily symptoms, or auras, but if they are, they symptoms associated with an impending migraine usually involve some kind of vision disturbance such as:
* Bright or dark sport (sometimes resembling champagne bubbles)
* Tunnel vision
* Zigzag lines ( called fortification spectra)
The aura is followed by an intense crescendo of a headache, frequently behind one eye or on one side of the head. the pain may be pounding, throbbing, viselike, or stabbing; frequently it feels like the head is going to explode from pressure. Other symptoms that can accompany the headache of a migraine include.
* sensitivity to light
The study showed that acupuncture for migraines was generally more effective than a series of pain killing drugs administered to the control group. What was more interesting is that the study looked at other factors beside the pain reduction. It also evaluated such things as the cost of the treatments and the time patients would have been unable to work under both treatments. It was in these areas that even more startling results were found.
The results indicated that acupuncture for migraine was not only a slightly more effective treatment for severe cases, but also resulted in considerable savings when viewed from a socio-economic point of view.
Many in the Western medical establishment give acupuncture a reluctant nod of acceptance as a treatment alternative for pain, but few have been made aware of how much more cost efficient and economically beneficial these treatments can be. There is certainly a need for more studies of this type that treat alternative medicine with a serious attitude and do not design the study to debunk what they already do not accept.
Migraines are one of the leading causes of lost time in the workplace in the United States. It is estimated that the cost of absenteeism from the estimated 157 million lost work days is over US$50b yearly when medical expenses are included. An additional US$4b is spent on pain killers for migraines and other types of headaches.
Little scientific evidence supports the efficacy of herbal medicines in the treatment of degenerative arthritis of the knee. The purpose of this study is to evaluate both the efficacy and safety of a finished Chinese herbal preparation Duhuo Jisheng Tang in reducing symptoms of degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee.
A prospective follow-up study was carried out in two hospitals in Taipei between April and October 2005. 68 osteoarthritis patients, with symptoms diagnosed by radiologists, received DJT at a rate of 2.5 g, twice daily for four weeks. Baseline scores were measured on the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) index, followed by further measures at the end of weeks 1, 2 and 4.
The World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL) assessment was undertaken as a secondary outcome, with pattern identification questionnaires being adopted. Regression models were constructed to explore the score differences between the baseline and at weeks 2 and 4 by various determinants including age, gender, body mass index (BMI), severity at baseline, use of rescue medication, aversion to cold and flaccidity of the lower back and knees.
Among the 68 participants, there were statistically significant reductions in the WOMAC index scores for pain, stiffness and physical functioning in the second and fourth weeks, with effects first appearing during week 2.
By week 4, the mean WOMAC index scores had fallen from 22.2 (+/-19.2) to 16.1 (+/-16.2) for pain, from 28.1 (+/-24.9) to 18.5 (+/-20.3) for stiffness, and from 22.6 (+/-18.0) to 18.2 (+/-17.8) for physical functioning, while the global score for pain under the visual analogue scale (VAS) was reduced from 38.7 (+/-21.5) to 27.8 (+/-19.8).The researchers conclude that in the treatment of degenerative osteoarthritis of the knee, a 4-week therapy with the Chinese herbal preparation DJT reduced pain and stiffness and improved physical functioning, but it was less effective in treating flaccidity and aversion to cold.