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Acupuncture May Provide Low-risk Pain Relief for Children

Acupuncture may be a viable low-risk, nontoxic option for pain management for pediatric patients who have complex medical conditions, according to new research published by Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

Many patients who have complex medical conditions experience chronic pain. As a result, they are often medicated with drugs that can make them sleepy, cause weight gain, and exacerbate mood swings that burden the children and their families, said Scott Schwantes, MD, lead author of the study.

The study presents a case review of nine patients who received acupuncture treatments, all of whom received notable benefits, spanning from decreased pain to complete relief.

Acupuncture typically takes about 30 minutes and involves the process of strategically placing a series of needles at precise points on a patient. The minimally invasive outpatient procedure could be an alternative for children who already experience surgeries, frequent hospital stays, and medications, Schwantes said. The largest drawback to the procedure is needle phobia in some children.

“The proof is with the patients,” Schwantes said. “They’re the ones who are successfully recovering from pain.”

This article was adapted from information provided by Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

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