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Selection of acupoints for managing upper-extremity spasticity in chronic stroke patients

Authors Wang B, Lin C, Li T, Lin S, Lin J, Chou L

Received 31 August 2013

Accepted for publication 2 October 2013

Published 10 January 2014 Volume 2014:9 Pages 147—156


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Bi-Huei Wang,1,* Chien-Lin Lin,1,2,* Te-Mao Li,2,3 Shih-Din Lin,3 Jaung-Geng Lin,2 Li-Wei Chou1,2,4

1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, China Medical University Hospital; 2School of Chinese Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine; 3Graduate Institute of Acupuncture Science, 4Acupuncture Research Center, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: This study investigated the clinical efficacy of electroacupuncture (EA) in inhibiting upper-extremity spasticity in chronic stroke patients, and also in mapping a unique preliminary acupoint-selection protocol.
Methods: Fifteen patients were divided into two groups: patients in the control group (n=6) received minimal acupuncture (MA), and those in the experimental group (n=9) received EA. Four acupoints, which include Neiguan (PC6), Shaohai (HT3), Zeqian (Ex-UE, A32), and Shounizhu (EX-UE), were treated near the motor points of the muscles for elbow flexion, forearm pronation, and finger flexion. Both groups were treated for twelve sessions, 20 minutes per session, for 6 weeks (two sessions per week). The outcome measures in this study included angle of muscle reaction (R1), passive range of motion (R2), and dynamic component (R2–R1).
Results: In the experimental group, the R2–R1 of the elbow joint was significantly decreased at 1 (P=0.0079), 3 (P=0.0013), and 6 weeks (P=0.0149) after treatment compared with pretreatment levels (P<0.05). The between-group difference in the R2–R1 of the elbow joint after the 6-week treatment was statistically significant.
Conclusion: Combining the 6-week EA and standard rehabilitation treatment reduced the spasticity of the elbow for chronic stroke survivors. However, no significant effect was observed in the spasticity of the wrist joints. The choice of acupoints and the frequency of EA have to be taken into account to achieve a positive treatment effect. The correlation between acupoints and motor points provides a model of acupoint selection to improve spasticity.

Keywords: acupoints, acupuncture, electroacupuncture, motor point, spasticity, stroke

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