Acupuncture/ pressureCancerPain-Neck

Acupuncture to treat pain after neck disscetion

Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in New York City studied whether acupuncture reduces pain and dysfunction in patients with squamous cell cancer and a history of neck dissection (photo) — a surgical procedure used to control neck lymph node metastasis.

First, the details.

  • 58 patients with chronic pain or dysfunction attributed to neck dissection were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 4 weeks.
    • Acupuncture weekly
    • Usual care (eg, physical therapy, use of pain medicine and/or anti-inflammatory drugs, per patient preference or physician recommendation).
  • The Constant-Murley score, a composite measure of pain, function, and activities of daily living, was recorded.
  • Xerostomia (dry mouth due to a lack of saliva) was also assessed.

And, the results.

  • Constant-Murley scores improved significantly more in the acupuncture group.
  • Acupuncture produced significantly greater improvement in reported xerostomia.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Although further study is needed, these data support the potential role of acupuncture in addressing post-neck dissection pain and dysfunction, as well as xerostomia.”

4/22/10 20:45 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.