Acupuncture Demonstrated Effective for Chronic Low Back Pain

Pain is the number one reason why Americans now are seeking out complementary and alternative medicine such as acupuncture.[1] But is acupuncture really effective for pain? Some meta-analyses of randomized-controlled clinical trials of acupuncture have supported its efficacy.[2][3] However, it is still controversial whether the effect of real acupuncture is more than placebo.

Today, we would like to review an article published in April 2013 in the journal Spine,[4] which looks at whether acupuncture is effective for people with axial low back pain lasting more than three months.

This is a multi-center, patient-assessor blind, randomized, sham-controlled clinical trial involving 116 adult participants.  Patients were randomized into one of the following two groups: the treatment group and a sham-control study group.  The sham treatment was carried out using semi-blunt needles on non-acupuncture points without penetration. These sham acupuncture needles have previously been demonstrated to be credible. Both groups received 12 sessions of acupuncture (twice a week for 6 weeks). Individualized treatment was allowed in the real acupuncture group, based on the meridian patterns involved. During the study duration, participants were not allowed to receive any additional therapy such as physical therapy or analgesics, so not to confound the study results. This study followed the guidelines of STRICTA (Standards for Reporting Interventions for Clinical Trials of Acupuncture).

May Newsletter

[1] Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr012.pdf

[2] Ernst E , White AR. Acupuncture for back pain: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials . Arch Intern Med 1998; 158:2235–41.

[3] van Tulder MW , Cherkin DC , Berman B , et al. The effectiveness of acupuncture in the management of acute and chronic low back pain. A systematic review within the framework of the Cochrane Collaboration Back Review Group. Spine 1999; 24:1113–23.

[4] Cho YJ, Song YK, Cha YY et al. Acupuncture for Chronic low back pain. Spine 2013; 38(7):549-557.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What COVID-19 Does to the Body?

If you get COVID-19, what does that mean for your short-term and long-term health? Read on to learn what COVID-19 can do to your health and how you can help stop the spread.

Our Best Stress Management Techniques

If you've been struggling with stress this summer, it could be time to learn how to manage it. Chronic stress can put pressure on your mental and physical health. Read on to learn how you can manage stress.

The Best Yoga Poses for Chronic Pain

If you live with chronic pain, would you like to learn easy, at-home ways to relieve your symptoms and relax your body? Yoga can help you do just that. Read on to learn more.

5 Signs Your Headache is a Migraine

Most people get headaches occasionally, but if you have migraines, your headaches can become debilitating and disruptive. How can you tell if you're having a headache or dealing with a chronic migraine condition? Read on to find out.

Pinched Nerve? Chiropractic Care Can Help

Are you suffering from symptoms of a pinched nerve, such as persistent pain, numbness, or tingling? Chiropractic care may be able to relieve your pain and treat the underlying causes. Read on to learn more.

Botox is More Than A Beauty Treatment

If you think Botox ®injections can only treat cosmetic issues, you may be surprised to learn that they can do so much more. In fact, Botox injections can help treat serious health issues, including migraines.