Hemiplegia which is severer than hemiparesis is paralysis of one half of the body on the same side. Brain damage is one of the causes. The paralysis occurs on the opposite side of the damaged brain. For example if one has an injury to the right side of the brain, the hemiplegia will be on the left side of the body. It is a common post stroke complication. Acupuncture is used in hemiplegia treatment in China. There was a study that investigated the immediate effects of acupuncture at GB34 acupoint on passive movement in stroke patients with hemiplegia using modern technique MRI to provide reference for clinical treatment. Six patients with right brain stroke and left hemiplegia in recovery stage were selected and scanned during passive fingers movement before and after acupuncture at acupoint GB34. The activated areas of the passive movement in all the patients were mainly motor sensory cortex on the right side. Compared with sham control, acupuncture had better effect on activating brain motor related network. This study used advanced technique and demonstrated that acupuncture is potential treatment method for hemiplegia in post stroke patients.
Treating upper limb hemiparesis with acupuncture and other interventions
Hemiparesis is a common complication for stroke survivors. The intervention for the conditions is aimed to improve quality of life for these patients. Pulman and Buckley from University of Liverpool UK reviewed the efficacy of different upper limb hemiparesis interventions on improving health-related quality of life in stroke patients. This is their findings:
Of the 22 studies, 12 reported significant findings within groups and between control groups. Interventions including BTX-A injections, CIMT, exercise programs, baclofen pump, robotic-assisted therapy, electrical stimulation, and acupuncture were reported to significantly improve either overall health-related QOL or certain individual QOL domains, such as strength, hand function, memory, mood, activities of daily living, mobility, social participation, communication, energy, pain, and sleep.
Example of acupuncture improves limb function in post stroke patients
Scalp acupuncture is that the needles are inserted in the acupuncture points on the scalp, while body acupuncture is that the needles are inserted in acupuncture points on the body. Both types of acupuncture are combined to treat stroke in China. Recent research showed the effectiveness of combined scalp and body acupuncture on limb function in stroke patients. Tang et al studied the effect of acupuncture n limb function in subacute stroke patients using scalp and body acupuncture. These patients were treated by routine neurological therapies. After 20 days, the limb function was better improved in acupuncture plus routine treatment group than that routine treatment only group. There were no significant differences between two groups in the ratios of mortality/disability and recurrence rates at the end of 3 and 6 months follow-up. He et al also studied the combined application of scal and body acupuncture on limb function in stroke patients. They also found better improvement in lower limb function in acupuncture group. After 8 weeks treatment, the walking ability rate in acupuncture group wa higher than that in the control group. The walking speed in the acupuncture group was faster than that in the control group.
Acupuncture point injection of herbal extract and floating acupuncture helps post stroke shoulder pain.
Shoulder pain is very common after stroke. It can be treated with pain killers, steroid injections, positioning and handling, shoulder strapping, electrical stimulation. Recently acupuncture point injection of herbal extract on post stroke shoulder pain was studied. There were 24 patients participated the study. Acupuncture points injection of herbal extract was carried out three times a week for 2 weeks. The effects of treatment were assessed with a numerical rating scale (NRS), painless passive range of motion (PROM) of external shoulder rotation, and the motor function assessment (FMMA). The acupuncture point injection group showed significant improvement on the NRS compared with that for control group after 2 weeks of treatment. PROM decreased significantly in both groups with greater pain reduction in treatment group. This study showed that acupuncture point injection of herbal extract was an option for patients with post stroke shoulder pain. Another study compared acupuncture with medicine and herbs for shoulder pain in post stroke patients. They found that shoulder pain was relived and the daily life activity was improved in the patients with post stroke using floating acupuncture technique. The pain relief was superior to the oral western medicine mobic and local Chinese herbs fumigation.
Current situation of stroke with acupuncture treatment
There is an increase in interest in using acupuncture on stroke and its effectiveness. Much of the recent research has been carried out in the Scandinavian countries and the USA. In China many studies have compared different techniques and point combinations which often involved in very large numbers of patients. The studies carried out so far have developed a variety of methods and are strongly indicative of therapeutic benefit, though the precise details of acupuncture treatment given are not always clearly stated in the studies. And there was lack of standardization in the treatments. Recently Wu et al analysed recent existing data to investigate the spectrum of acupuncture points in post stroke patients treated with acupuncture and moxibustion. They collect 652 clinical research papers. They found 143 nonacupuncture points were used and the application frequency were 737; 253 acupuncture points were used and the application frequency were 5395. According to application frequency, the acupuncture points were divided into often used points (23points); sometime used points (100 points) and less used points (130 points). Apparently there was lack of standardization in stroke treatment with acupuncture. The selected acupuncture points were distributed in fourteen meridians and most common used meridians were Yangming and Shaoyang.
Wu et al Zhonguo Zhen Jiu (2013) 33:547-52
Si WJ et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2013) 33:131-6
Seo YR et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2013) 2013:504686
Wang J Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2013) 33:294-8
Pulman and Buckley Top Stroke Rehabil (2013) 20:171-88
Tang et al Zhen Ci Yan Jiu (2012) 37:488-92
He et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2012) 32:887-90
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Leading acupuncture specialist for facial rejuvenation, pain relief, stress relief, fertility, fatigue, anxiety.
Based at Kensington and Chelsea at Central London. Qualified as a medical doctor in Western medicine in China with a Medical degree from Beijing, China and a PhD degree from the UK. Many year research and clinical experiences. This blog is for information only.
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My Guest blog articles and Reviews
Guest blog articles
M Ju. (2015) What Part Does Acupuncture Play in IVF?
The Journal of Chinese Medicine And Acupuncture Volume 22 Issue 1 March 2015 P21
M Ju (2014) Current opinion in acupuncture on stroke rehabilitation
The Journal of Chinese Medicine And Acupuncture Volume 21 Issue 1 September 2014 P9
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