Acupuncture a basic tool: expert

Pain medicine specialist Prof Rollin Gallagher speaks at a medical conference in Dunedin. Photo...
Pain medicine specialist Prof Rollin Gallagher speaks at a medical conference in Dunedin. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Every GP should learn acupuncture as a basic pain relief tool, clinicians at a medical conference in Dunedin were told yesterday.

Keynote speaker at the New Zealand Pain Society's annual scientific meeting in Dunedin was Prof Rollin Gallagher, from the University of Pennsylvania. A pain medicine specialist, he edits the academic journal Pain Medicine.

Acupuncture was effective and non-toxic, but most GPs had no training in the technique. He also spoke in favour of yoga. By using alternative techniques, opioid use could be reduced.

Those with chronic pain must be reassured they would not be abandoned by the system, which had to find cost-effective ways to provide long-term support, Prof Gallagher said.

He spoke about the success of a war veterans' health programme in the United States which reduced opioid use through educating providers to use other techniques.

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