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Use of Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Optimizing Clinical Practice

Eshkevari, Ladan MS, CRNA, Dipl Ac; Heath, Janie RN, ANP, ACNP

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Increasingly, individuals are turning to complementary therapies to reduce or cope with chronic pain. Acupuncture, one of the oldest complementary therapies, originated from China more than 2500 years ago. It has steadily gained popularity in the United States over the last few decades as a modality for pain relief among both practitioners and patients. A 1997 National Institutes of Health consensus conference concluded that acupuncture needling releases endorphins and other neurotransmitters in the brain and should be considered as an appropriate pain treatment option. This article will provide an overview about acupuncture principles, discuss current clinical evidence, and identify acupuncture resources to optimize practice for chronic pain management.

Department of Anesthesia Pain Services, Georgetown University Hospital, and the Nurse Anesthesia Program (Ms Eshkevari), and the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist Program (Ms Heath), Georgetown University, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Washington, DC.

Corresponding author: Ladan Eshkevari, CRNA, MS, Dipl Ac, Georgetown University SNHS, 1920 12th St, NW #2, Washington, DC 20009 (e-mail: eshkevl@georgetown.edu).

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.