To Investigate The Efficacy Of Electroacupuncture Compared To Manual Acupuncture For Cancer-Related Pain: A Systematic Review.
(2013) To Investigate The Efficacy Of Electroacupuncture Compared To Manual Acupuncture For Cancer-Related Pain: A Systematic Review., no. 98.
Background Cancer-related pain is one of the most common and distressing symptoms among cancer patients with over half of patients not receiving adequate pain relief. This invariably affects physical and psychological well-being as well as their quality of life. While cancer-related pain is one of the most debilitating symptoms in cancer patients, it is one of the most difficult for clinicians to treat. Objectives The primary aim of this systematic review was to investigate the efficacy of electroacupuncture (EA) compared to manual acupuncture (MA) as an alternative analgesic for cancer-related pain. Search Strategy To identify studies, the databases CINAHL, MEDLINE, PubMed Central, SCOPUS, Science Direct, SPORT Discus, Web of Knowledge and PEDro were searched using defined keywords in February 2013. The reference lists of studies accepted to this review were then hand searched to locate further studies. Selection Criteria All study designs, published at any time in the English language were included. Participants of any age with a current or previous diagnosis of cancer were permitted. Treatment modalities had to include either EA or MA. Pain had to be a primary outcome measure and all methods of evaluating this were accepted. Data Collection and Analysis The studies were selected on the basis of the listed inclusion and exclusion criteria. The methodological strength of the studies was then evaluated using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale created by the Centre for Evidence-Based Physiotherapy. Main Results Eight studies evaluating either EA or MA in the treatment of cancer-related pain were accepted in this review. Three studies used EA while five studies examined the use of MA. Overall, it appears that both EA and MA are effective in treating cancer-related pain. EA appears to be superior in treating more severe grades of pain while MA is effective in patients experiencing milder pain. . Conclusion A lack of high quality evidence in this area means that drawing conclusions from these studies is difficult. The overall results were weakened by the methodological limitations and the low quality of the study designs. Therefore, it can be said that insufficient evidence exists to support the use of either EA or MA in the treatment of cancer-related pain. Further higher quality study designs need to be conducted in order to for either modality to be accepted as an effective treatment option.