Korean J Adult Nurs.  2020 Jun;32(3):261-272. 10.7475/kjan.2020.32.3.261.

The Effects of Auricular Acupressure on Joint Pain and Shoulder Range of Motion in Older Adults

  • 1Graduate Student, Graduate School, College of Nursing Science, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Professor, College of Nursing, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea


This study aimed to examine the effects of auricular acupressure on shoulder pain and shoulder joint Range of Motion (ROM) in older adults.
This is an experimental, single-blind, randomized study with a placebo-controlled approach. The participants were older adults with shoulder pain. Each group was assigned 27 participants. The experimental group received auricular acupressure on shoulder pain-related points and the placebo-control group received auricular acupressure on shoulder pain-unrelated points. The intervention was implemented for eight weeks. To validate the effects of the treatment, a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI), Pressure Pain Thresholds (PPTs), and ROM were conducted. VAS was measured before and after every intervention. SPADI, PPTs, and ROM were measured at the beginning and end of every intervention.
The VAS scores in the experimental group with auricular acupressure significantly decreased with time (p<.001) and SPADI scores also significantly decreased (p<.001) compared with the scores of the placebo-control group. The experimental group's PPTs for their upper trapezius, levator scapulae, and rhomboideus major increased significantly, compared to that of the placebo-control group. The experimental group's ROM of flexion, abduction, and external rotation increased significantly compared to the placebo-control group. but there were no significant differences in internal rotation.
Auricular acupressure, applied for eight weeks, was found to effectively reduce shoulder joint pain and shoulder ROM. Consequently, auricular acupressure can be used as a nursing intervention method to reduce joint pain and improve shoulder ROM in elders.


Acupressure; Aged; Pain threshold; Range of motion; Shoulder pain
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