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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A new analgesic method, two-minute sciatic nerve press, for immediate pain relief: a randomized trial

Jiman He1*, Bin Wu2, Xianrong Jiang3, Fenglin Zhang4, Tao Zhao5 and Wenlon Zhang6

Author Affiliations

1 Biomedicine (TC), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100080 China & Rhode Island Hospital, Brown University, RI 02903, USA

2 Renal Department, Anhui Province Hospital, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, 230001, China

3 Department of Biology, Hefei Teachers College, Hefei, 230061, China

4 Department of Oncology, Maanshan People Hospital, Maanshan, 243000, China

5 Department of Emergency, Anhui Province Hospital, Hefei, 230001, China

6 Department of Dentistry, Chuzou Zhongxiyi Hospital, Chuzou, 239000, China

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BMC Anesthesiology 2008, 8:1  doi:10.1186/1471-2253-8-1

Published: 25 January 2008

Abstract

Background

Current analgesics have drawbacks such as delays in acquisition, lag-times for effect, and side effects. We recently presented a preliminary report of a new analgesic method involving a two-minute sciatic nerve press, which resulted in immediate short-term relief of pain associated with dental and renal diseases. The present study investigated whether this technique was effective for pain associated with other disease types, and whether the relief was effective for up to one hour.

Methods

This randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial was conducted in four hospitals in Anhui Province, China. Patients with pain were sequentially recruited by participating physicians during clinic visits, and 135 patients aged 15 – 80 years were enrolled. Dental disease patients included those with acute pulpitis and periapical abscesses. Renal disease patients included those with kidney infections and/or stones. Tumor patients included those with nose, breast, stomach and liver cancers, while Emergency Room patients had various pathologies. Patients were randomly assigned to receive a "sciatic nerve press" in which pressure was applied simultaneously to the sciatic nerves at the back of both thighs, or a "placebo press" in which pressure was applied to a parallel region on the front of the thighs. Each fist applied a pressure of 11 – 20 kg for 2 minutes. Patients rated their level of pain before and after the procedure.

Results

The "sciatic nerve press" produced immediate relief of pain in all patient groups. Emergency patients reported a 43.5% reduction in pain (p < 0.001). Significant pain relief for dental, renal and tumor patients lasted for 60 minutes (p < 0.001). The peak pain relief occurred at the 10 – 20th minutes, and the relief decreased 47% by the 60th minutes.

Conclusion

Two minutes of pressure on both sciatic nerves produced immediate significant short-term conduction analgesia. This technique is a convenient, safe and powerful method for the short-term treatment of clinical pain associated with a diverse range of pathologies.

Trial registration

Current Controlled Trials ACTRN012606000439549