Publication Date



International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


Objective: The goal of this study is to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of an auricular point acupressure smartphone app (mAPA) to self-manage chronic musculoskeletal pain. Methods: A prospective, longitudinal, randomized, controlled pilot trial was conducted using a three-group design (self-guided mAPA (n = 14); in-person mAPA (n = 12); and control (n = 11)). The primary outcomes included physical function and pain intensity. Results: After a 4-week APA intervention, participants in the in-person mAPA group had improved physical function of 32% immediately post-intervention and 29% at the 1M follow-up. Participants in the self-guided mAPA group had higher improvement (42% at post-intervention and 48% at the 1M follow-up). Both mAPA groups had similar degrees of pain intensity relief at post-intervention (45% for in-person and 48% for the self-guided group) and the 1M follow-up (42% for in-person and 45% for the self-guided group). Over 50% of the participants in each group reached at least 30% reduced pain intensity at post-intervention, and this was sustained in the mAPA groups at the 1M follow-up. Approximately 80% of the participants in both mAPA groups were satisfied with the treatment outcomes and adhered to the suggested APA practice; however, participants in the self-guided group had higher duration and more frequency in APA use. The attrition rate was 16% at the 1M follow-up. No adverse effects of APA were reported, and participants found APA to be beneficial and the app to be valuable. Conclusions: The study findings indicate that participants effectively learned APA using a smartphone app, whether they were self-guided or received in-person training. They were able to self-administer APA to successfully manage their pain. Participants found APA to be valuable in their pain self-management and expressed satisfaction with the intervention using the app.


auricular point acupressure, chronic musculoskeletal pain, smartphone application, self-management


PMID: 36429591



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