Women who undergo mastectomy often experience pain, nausea and anxiety in the post-operative stage. Researchers are always looking for non-pharmacologic pain management options.
A new study has revealed that women who had acupuncture treatments after breast cancer surgery at Abbott Northwestern Hospital had a greater reduction in pain, nausea, and anxiety and were better
able to cope on the first post-operative day compared with patients who
had traditional care.
‘Women who had acupuncture treatments after breast cancer surgery had a greater reduction in pain, nausea, and anxiety during the post-operative period.
The findings are published in the Oncology Nursing Forum
in November 2016.
"This study showed that acupuncture in the hospital after mastectomy is
not only feasible, it also appears to decrease patients' symptoms of
pain, nausea, and anxiety," said Sue Sendelbach, director of
Nursing Research at Abbott Northwestern.
Researchers chose the study variables - pain, nausea, anxiety and
ability to cope - based on an Oncology Nursing Society survey in which
members were asked to report the symptoms that are the most distressing
and difficult to manage.
Abbott Northwestern study patients entered their levels - on a zero
to ten scale - of pain, nausea, anxiety, and ability to cope into a
tablet computer immediately before and after receiving acupuncture.
Acupuncture was delivered as many as two times after surgery at least 12
hours apart. Patients in the usual care group were seen two times after
surgery at least 12 hours apart to collect the same variables.
"The results of this study demonstrate that acupuncture reduced
patients' perception of pain, anxiety and nausea by about 1.5 units,
which is both clinically and statistically significant. For comparison,
it is known that opioid medications reduce patients' perception of pain
by 1.9 units, which is comparable to the decrease for acupuncture in
this study," said Jeffery A. Dusek, director of Research for the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing.