Acupuncture - effects on muscle blood flow and aspects of treatment in the clinicla context

Detta är en avhandling från Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Sammanfattning: The overall aim of this thesis was to elucidate and investigate psychophysiological aspects and effects of acupuncture and needle stimulation. Within this framework emphasis was directed toward the effects of needle stimulation (acupuncture) on muscle blood flow in the tibialis anterior and trapezius muscles in healthy subjects and patients suffering from chronic muscle pain. This study also included evaluation of a new application of photoplethysmography in noninvasive monitoring of muscle blood flow. The evaluation was based on experiments known to provocate skin or muscle blood flow. The psychological aspects studied comprised the effects of manual acupuncture on pain in fibromyalgia patients and the effects of electro-acupuncture on psychological distress and vasomotor symptoms in postmenopausal women in the clinical context.The results showed that photoplethysmography have potential to noninvasively monitor muscle blood flow and to discriminate between blood flow in skin and muscle, although some considerations still have to be accounted for. It was further shown that muscle blood flow change in response to needle stimulation differed between healthy subjects and patients. Deep needle stimulation in the muscle of healthy subjects consistently increased muscle blood flow more than subcutaneous needle stimulation. In the painful trapezius muscle of FMS patients, however, subcutaneous needling was equal or even more effective in increasing muscle blood flow than deep intramuscular stimulation. Generally, needle stimuli had weak effect on blood flow in the trapezius muscle of the severely affected trapezius myalgia patients, possibly depending on older age and lesser number of patients included in the study. The different patterns of blood flow response to needle stimulation between healthy subjects and patients with chronic muscle pain might be a manifestation of altered somatosensory processing in the patients.The clinical studies showed that best pain relief of acupuncture in FMS patients was achieved in the neck-shoulder region, while the effect on the generalised symptoms was of short duration. Well-being and sleep was found to best predict treatment outcome. The results suggest that acupuncture treatment may be used for the alleviation of neck-shoulder pain, primarily, but it is not an alternative as the sole treatment. Electro-acupuncture, significantly decreased psychological distress and climacteric symptoms in postmenopausal women, but not better than a (near-) placebo control, implying pronounced non-specific effects.