Acupuncture

Introduction
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By K K Jain MD

In this clinical article, Dr. K K Jain, a neurology consultant in Basel, Switzerland, reviews the physiological basis of acupuncture and evaluates its applications in various neurologic disorders. Acupuncture is used most frequently for relief of pain. Claims in some of the other conditions, such as stroke, cannot be confirmed by controlled clinical trials. Although used in practice, acupuncture still needs to be evaluated further by well-controlled clinical trials.

Key points

  • Of the alternative methods, acupuncture is the most commonly integrated into conventional medical practice.
  • Acupuncture is widely used for the treatment of neurologic disorders, particularly for the management of painful conditions.
  • Action of acupuncture in modulating pain pathways has been demonstrated by brain imaging studies.
  • Neurologic complications have been reported from the improper insertion of acupuncture needles.
  • Further controlled and well-designed studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture for neurologic disorders.

In This Article

Introduction
Historical note and nomenclature
Scientific basis
Indications
Contraindications
Goals and endpoint
Description
Outcome
Adverse effects
Pregnancy
References cited
Contributors