A study in Korea reported that integrated traditional Korean medical treatment is beneficial for traumatic fractures, which is a type of simple fracture. Integrated traditional Korean medical treatment refers to the use of acupuncture, herbal acupuncture and herbal prescriptions during the postoperative fusion and rehabilitation process.
According to the Institute of Spine and Joint Research at Jaseng Hospital, a research team led by Dr. Kim Min-kyeong, a Korean medicine doctor, analyzed the recovery aspects prior to and following the treatment of traumatic fracture patients and found that integrated traditional Korean medical treatment helped to improve the pain, dysfunction and quality of life of the patients, and that the treatment effects were maintained over the long term.
The researchers first looked at”the progress of the 665 patients who had undergone integrated traditional Korean medical treatment among all the patients hospitalized for traumatic fracture at Gangnam, Daejeon, Bucheon, Bundang, Bundang and Haeundae Jaeng Hospitals from 2017 to 2020. The key evaluation index used for the measurement of treatment efficacy was the numerical rating scale (NRS) for pain at the time of admission and discharge from the hospital for fractures.
A follow-up questionnaire was then used to determine the extent of improvement after the integrated traditional Korean medical treatment and whether further treatment was needed after discharge from the hospital. A total of 339 patients responded to the survey, which was conducted between the 211th and the 1582nd day after discharge.
Patients received integrated traditional Korean medical treatment, including acupuncture, herbal acupuncture, electro-acupuncture and herbal medicine prescriptions tailored to their specific symptoms and constitution.
Electro-acupuncture is a combined acupuncture technique using both manual and electronic acupuncture needles, which simply means that the needles are electrically stimulated.
As a result, although the average NRS value of all the patients was at a severe level of 6.01 at the time of hospitalization, it was alleviated to 3.95, which was below the moderate level, at the time of their discharge from the hospital.
In particular, the post-discharge follow-up questionnaire confirmed a 73% reduction from the initial measurement of NRS to an almost pain-free 1.6. The functional disability index (ODI), which assesses the extent of functional impairment, also decreased from 54.43 at the time of hospitalization to 39.35 at discharge, and 15.17 at the follow-up observation questionnaire, representing a 72% improvement in functional impairment in comparison to that at the time of hospitalization. For both the NRS and ODI, higher numbers indicate greater extent of pain and disability.
In the follow-up observation questionnaire, the research team also found that the rate of recommendation for fracture surgery decreased from 12.43% prior to hospitalization to 3.51% after discharge, which is an approximately 3.5-fold decrease. Moreover, 286 patients (84.37%) did not receive any additional treatment over the last three months.
In the PGIC (a survey on the level of satisfaction of patients) that measures the extent of improvement, 90.56% of patients reported that their symptoms improved with the integrated traditional Korean medical treatment. The research team analyzed that most patients maintained a satisfactory condition for a long period of time without the need for further treatment.
Dr. Min-Kyung Kim, a Korean medicine doctor, said, " with this study, we were able to confirm the effectiveness and persistence of integrated traditional Korean medical treatment for traumatic fractures," adding, "we hope that integrated traditional Korean medical treatment will become another treatment alternative for fracture patients in the future."
The paper was published in the SCI (E) rated international journal Medicine (Medicine-IF=1.552).