Protocol: Testing the Relevance of Acupuncture Theory in the Treatment of Myofascial Pain in the Upper Trapezius Muscle

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Journal Article
JAMS Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, 2017, 10 (1), pp. 67 - 74
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© 2017 Medical Association of Pharmacopuncture Institute A protocol for a prospective single-blind parallel four-arm randomized placebo-controlled trial with repeated measures was designed to test the effects of various acupuncture methods compared with sham. Eighty self-selected participants with myofascial pain in the upper trapezius muscle were randomized into four groups. Group 1 received acupuncture to a myofascial trigger point (MTrP) in the upper trapezius. Group 2 received acupuncture to the MTrP in addition to relevant distal points. Group 3 received acupuncture to the relevant distal points only. Group 4 received a sham treatment to both the MTrP and distal points using a deactivated acupuncture laser device. Treatment was applied four times within 2 weeks with outcomes measured throughout the trial and at 2 weeks and 4 weeks posttreatment. Outcome measurements were a 100-mm visual analog pain scale, SF-36, pressure pain threshold, Neck Disability Index, the Upper Extremity Functional Index, lateral flexion in the neck, McGill Pain Questionnaire, Massachusetts General Hospital Acupuncture Sensation Scale, Working Alliance Inventory (short form), and the Credibility Expectance Questionnaire. Two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures were used to assess the differences between groups.
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