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Review Article
Shoulder Pain and the Potential Role of Acupuncture: A Narrative Review of Clinical Practice and Treatment Guidelines
Stephen Birch, Myeong Soo Lee, Tae-Hun Kim, Terje Alraek
Perspect Integr Med. 2022;1(1):3-9.   Published online September 22, 2022
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AbstractAbstract PDFSupplementary Material
The potential use of acupuncture for shoulder pain of various etiologies and whether clinicians make recommendations about the use of acupuncture was examined. Shoulder pain is a common clinical problem. What is the level of evidence and how often is acupuncture recommended for shoulder pain? A manual and database (PubMed) search of review articles of related clinical trials and guidelines was performed. The evidence for effectiveness of acupuncture treatment of different types of shoulder pain was weak. However, there are some studies, with a weak to moderate level of evidence, on shoulder pain (across nine subtypes of shoulder pain). Acupuncture is safe and may be a cost-effective treatment for shoulder pain. There were 131 statements recommending the use of acupuncture for shoulder pain across 12 subtypes of shoulder pain. The most common statements were for non-specific ‘shoulder pain.’ There were 11 statements against the use of acupuncture for shoulder pain and three subtypes of shoulder pain. The level of evidence in studies of acupuncture treatment for shoulder pain is low, therefore, further research is needed. Recommendations for the use of acupuncture for shoulder pain are increasing but lag behind those for other pain problems such as low back pain.


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Perspect Integr Med : Perspectives on Integrative Medicine