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J Acupunct Res > Volume 31(2); 2014 > Article
Kim, Kim, Noh, and Kim: Taegeuk Acupuncture for Patients with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: A Retrospective Analysis of Medical Records※
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This study aimed to assess the effectiveness and safety of Taegeuk acupuncture for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain.


A retrospective analysis of the electronic medical records of Pusan National University Korean Medicine Hospital from March 2012 to March 2013 was performed. Eligible cases were outpatients who had received at least six sessions of Taegeuk acupuncture for their pain and had agreed to the use of their medical records for research purposes. Pain levels, heart rate variability, and patients’ perceptions of the safety of acupuncture were investigated through the medical records and follow-up telephone interviews.


Fifteen cases were selected for analysis. All had suffered from musculoskeletal pain for at least one year. After six sessions of Taegeuk acupuncture, the average score on the pain numeric rating scale decreased from 6.7±2.0 to 2.9±2.2(a 43 % reduction). Follow-up telephone interviews revealed that patients experienced no adverse event after Taegeuk acupuncture.


Patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain showed a reduction of more than half of the baseline pain after six sessions of Taegeuk acupuncture. However, the beneficial effects observed in this retrospective analysis should be interpreted with caution due to selection and recall bias. Further randomized controlled trials of Taegeuk acupuncture for chronic musculoskeletal pain are warranted.


This work was supported by a 2-year research grant of Pusan National University

Fig. 1.
Areas of examination
Fig. 2.
Physical examination A
Tenderness on epigastric region.
Fig. 3.
Physical examination B
Light percussion for the test hepatic dullness sound on upper region.
Fig. 4.
Physical examination C
Light percussion for the test hepatic dullness sound on middle region.
Fig. 5.
Physical examination D
Light percussion for the test hepatic dullness sound on lower region.
Table 1.
Demographic characteristics of 15 patients
Age 56.2±9.9
Female 12(80 %)
Duration of symptoms(year) 6.9±4.9

Symptom classification Low back pain 6
Myofascial pain 6
Knee pain 2
Neck pain 1

Constitutional classification So-Yang 12
Tae-Eum 3
Tai-Yang 0
So-Eum 0

Comorbidity / past history Hypertension 2
Diabetes 2
Cancer 3

Present pain intensity Mild 3
Moderate 5
Severe 4
Very severe 3

SF-36 bodily pain(0∼100 %) 37.5±24.4 %

Values are presented as number(%), mean±standard deviation or median(range).

Table 2.
Time and Frequency Domain of the Heart Rate Variability at Baseline
Result(n=15) Reference values from the literature (diabetes)(n=16)5) Reference values from the literature (healthy control)(n=16)5)
Time domain Heart rate(bpm) 69.4(10.4) 84.3(7.29) 66.2(10.2)
SDNN(ms) 22.8(6.5) 15.3(14.7) 46.4(99.2)
RMSSD(ms) 18.6(8.7) 16.0(19.2) 41.43(22.0)

Frequency domain HF power(ms2) 64.1 [20.5, 320.6] 85.7(223.3) 260.7(237.2)
LF power(ms2) 68.2 [19.4, 258.9] 55.0(123.1) 476.4(307.2)
VLF power(ms2) 220.8 [45.3, 958.9] 49.2(85.3) 371.8(354.8)
Normalized LF 53.5(23.0) 50.6(18.7) 68.5(10.2)
Normalized HF 46.9(23.0) 49.3(18.7) 31.4(10.2)
LF/HF ratio 1.1 [0.2, 8.5] 1.4(1.4) 2.5(1.3)

Total power 445.2(286.5) - -

Values are presented as mean(standard deviation) or median[range] based on normality of distribution.

Table 3.
Pain-related Outcomes at Baseline and Post-treatment
Baseline (n=15) Post-treatment (n=15)
NRS 6.7±2.0 2.9±2.2
Hepatic dullness All areas presented -
Partially resolved - 10
Completely resolved - 4

VI. References

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5. Seyd PTA, Ahamed VIT, Jacob J, Joseph KP. Time and frequency domain analysis of heart rate variability and their correlations in diabetes mellitus. International Journal of Biological and Life Sciences. 2008;4(1):24–7.

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