Shoulder pain caused by rotator cuff injuries can be very painful and cause restricted movement; making daily tasks almost impossible. The usual cause of this type of shoulder pain is an impingement of the tendons or bursa, which are being pinched by the bones of the shoulder. If left untreated, this can cause inflammation of the aforementioned structures (tendinitis or bursitis).
In April of this year, a group of Spanish researchers published the results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that investigated the effects of acupuncture on pain caused by shoulder impingement.
Study participants were placed into two groups, one received verum (true) acupuncture, and the other group received sham acupuncture. Treatments were given once a week for 4 weeks, and pain levels were recorded after every treatment, and at a 3 month follow-up.
Researchers concluded that true acupuncture provided clinically significant results for reducing shoulder pain and for increasing shoulder functioning compared to sham acupuncture; and they recommended acupuncture as a safe and reliable treatment for shoulder impingement.
Rueda Garrido JC, Vas J, Lopez DR. Acupuncture treatment of shoulder impingement syndrome: A randomized controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2016 Apr;25:92-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2016.01.003. Epub 2016 Jan 21.