Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 523851, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/523851
Research Article

Evaluation of the Immediate Effect of Auricular Acupuncture on Pain and Electromyographic Activity of the Upper Trapezius Muscle in Patients with Nonspecific Neck Pain: A Randomized, Single-Blinded, Sham-Controlled, Crossover Study

1Postgraduate Program in Rehabilitation Sciences, Universidade Nove de Julho (UNINOVE), Avenida Dr. Adolfo Pinto 1w09, Água Branca, 05001-100 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Department of Physical Therapy, Universidade Nove de Julho (UNINOVE), Avenida Dr. Adolfo Pinto 109, Água Branca, 05001-100 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
3Physical Therapy Program, Universidade Cidade de São Paulo (UNICID), Rua Cesário Galeno, Tatuapé, 448/475 São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 19 April 2015; Accepted 2 September 2015

Academic Editor: Ching-Liang Hsieh

Copyright © 2015 Andréia Cristina de Oliveira Silva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. The aim of the present study was to assess the immediate effects of auricular acupuncture (AA) on the electromyographic (EMG) activity of the upper trapezius muscle and pain in nonspecific neck pain (NS-NP) patients. Twelve patients with NS-NP (NS-NP group) and 12 healthy subjects (HS Group) were enrolled in a randomized, single-blinded, crossover study. Each subject received a single session of AA and sham AA (SAA). Surface EMG activity was measured in the upper trapezius muscle at different “step contractions” of isometric shoulder elevation (15%, 20%, 25%, and 30% MVC). The outcome measure in patients with NS-NP was based on the numerical pain rating scale (NRS). AA treatment led to a significant decrease in EMG activity in both groups (NS-NP group: p = 0.0001; HS group: p < 0.0001—ANOVA test). This was not the case for the SAA treatment (NS-NP group: p = 0.71; HS group: p < 0.54). Significant decreases (p < 0.001) in the NRS were found for both treatments (AA and SAA). This study demonstrated the immediate effect of auricular acupuncture on the electromyographic activity of the upper trapezius muscle but the effect of this intervention on pain symptoms in patients with nonspecific neck pain was inconclusive.