Abstract TP152: Use of Acupuncture to Reduce Hemiplegic Shoulder Pain is Feasible and Acceptable among Community-Dwelling Stroke Survivors

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Abstract

Hemiplegic shoulder pain (HSP) limits stroke survivors’ physical function, which in turn impairs their capabilities in participating in activities and compromises their quality of life (QoL). Systematic reviews report acupuncture is potentially beneficial in reducing HSP and improving physical function. A study was conducted to investigate the feasibility and acceptance of a 6-week acupuncture treatment among community-dwelling survivors. It was hypothesized that there would be no significant problems in recruiting participants, conducting the true and sham treatment, and measuring clinical outcomes. Fifteen survivors with HSP were recruited and assigned randomly to a true acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or control group in a 1:1:1 ratio. Participants in the true acupuncture group received an acupuncture treatment regimen developed by a panel of experts in Chinese and Western medicine. Acupuncture devices with needles that retract into the handle were used in the sham group. Participants in the control group received usual rehabilitative care. Outcomes including HSP, upper extremity function, depressive symptoms, social participation, and QoL were collected at baseline and 1 week after completion of the treatment for the true and sham groups: participants were asked to comment on the acceptability and satisfaction of the treatment within 1 week after the 6-week treatment. Data were collected at baseline and at 7 weeks for the control group. The participants’ mean age was 62.67 years. The mean duration post-stroke was 6.33 years. Eighty percent had an ischemic stroke and 66.7% a left-sided weakness. A total of 7-15 acupoints were used for the true and sham groups. Overall, participants found the traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners helpful and attentive to their health concerns. No adverse events were reported throughout the study. More participants in the true acupuncture group reported reduced HSP after the treatment. They expressed that they were willing to participate in the treatment again. In conclusion, the high level of user satisfaction indicated the feasibility of conducting a large-scale randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effects of the proposed acupuncture treatment on survivors’ post-stroke HSP and health outcomes.

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