The therapeutic effects of acupuncture on patients with chronic neck myofascial pain syndrome: a single-blind randomized controlled trial

Am J Chin Med. 2010;38(5):849-59. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X10008299.


Chronic neck myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is a common disorder seen in clinics. There is no gold standard method to treat myofascial pain. We investigated the effects of acupuncture on patients with chronic neck MPS by a single-blind randomized controlled trial. A total of 35 patients were randomly allocated to an acupuncture group (AG) or a sham acupuncture group (SG). Each subject received acupuncture treatment twice per week for three consecutive weeks. The primary outcome measure was quality of life as assessed with Short Form-36, and secondary outcome measures were neck range of motion (ROM), motion-related pain, and Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ), as determined by a blinded investigator. The clinical assessments were made before treatment (BT) and after six acupuncture treatments (AT), as well as four weeks (F1) and 12 weeks (F2) after the end of the treatment. A total of 34 patients completed the trial. The results indicated that there is no significant difference in the ROM, motion-related pain, and SF-MPQ scores between AG and SG at AT, F1 and F2 (all p > 0.05). However, AG has greater improvement in physical functioning and role emotional of Short Form-36 quality of life at F2. The results indicate that acupuncture may be used to improve the quality of life in patients with chronic neck MPS.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / psychology
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / therapy*
  • Neck Pain / psychology
  • Neck Pain / therapy*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Range of Motion, Articular*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Surveys and Questionnaires