Auricular acupuncture in the treatment of acute pain syndromes: A pilot study

Mil Med. 2006 Oct;171(10):1010-4. doi: 10.7205/milmed.171.10.1010.


This pilot study used a randomized controlled clinical trial design to compare the effects of standard emergency medical care to auricular acupuncture plus standard emergency medical care in patients with acute pain syndromes. Eighty-seven active duty military personnel and their dependents with a diagnosis of acute pain completed the study, which was conducted in the emergency room (ER) at Malcolm Grow Medical Center, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. The primary outcome measure was change in pain level from baseline, as measured by the Numerical Rating Scale. Participants in the acupuncture group experienced a 23% reduction in pain before leaving the ER, while average pain levels in participants in the standard medical care group remained basically unchanged. (p < 0.0005). However, both groups experienced a similar reduction in pain 24 hours following treatment in the ER. More research is needed to elucidate treatment effects and to determine mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture, Ear / methods*
  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ear, External
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maryland
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Medicine / methods*
  • Military Personnel*
  • Pain Management*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pilot Projects
  • Qi
  • Syndrome
  • United States