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Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

November 2017, Volume 23, Issue 11, pp 829–836

Summary: This study, published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine in November 2017, aimed to assess acupuncture’s impact on idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia (ITN). Patients were divided into three groups: acupuncture, sham-acupuncture, and carbamazepine (a common medication for ITN). Their pain levels, medication doses, and various sensory evaluations were monitored before, immediately after, and six months post-treatment.

Method: The study included 60 ITN patients and 30 healthy individuals. Patients were randomly assigned to three groups: acupuncture (15), sham-acupuncture (15), and carbamazepine (30). Pain intensity, medication doses, temporomandibular disorder evaluations, masticatory system functionality, and sensory threshold tests were conducted at different intervals.

Results: The acupuncture group showed decreased pain intensity by the end of the study (P=0.012). In contrast, the sham-acupuncture group required increased medication doses (P<0.01). The acupuncture group sustained improvements in myofascial pain and jaw function after six months (P<0.01, P=0.023). Mechanical thresholds improved in the acupuncture group (tactile, P<0.01; vibration, P=0.027), while deep pain thresholds increased in both acupuncture and sham-acupuncture groups (P=0.013).

Conclusion: Acupuncture demonstrated potential in treating ITN by reducing pain and associated secondary myofascial discomfort. This suggests acupuncture as a viable option for managing ITN-related pain.

Keywords: acupuncture, idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia, orofacial pain, temporomandibular disorders, quantitative sensory testing, case-control study.