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We provide acupuncture for back pain daily in our clinic. It is one of the most common symptoms that people seek treatment for. Luckily, we are usually able to offer hope for these patients, as we see above an 80% response rate in our clinic.
In recent years more scientific research is available proving the effectiveness of acupuncture for back pain.
Researchers in Northern Ireland completed a systematic review of acupuncture research studies. (1) They concluded: “Acupuncture versus no treatment, and as an adjunct to conventional care, should be advocated in the European Guidelines for the treatment of chronic low back pain.”
An interesting study from Japan compared factory workers with back pain from two different factories.(2) One factory group received weekly acupuncture for eight weeks, the other did not. The researchers discovered that the acupuncture group had less pain, improved psychological mood, and less doctor’s visits and medical expenses compared to both themselves in the six months prior to the study and to the control factory workers. The researchers suggested that medical expenses could be reduced for people with back pain due to improvements in pain level and mood.
A study from Germany tested acupuncture for back pain.(4) They also studied whether they could identify predictors of successful treatment based on how chronic the symptoms was, how severe the pain was, and the level of depression in the patient. This was a large study of +2500 patients.
After 6 months (6-mo follow-up), 45.5% of patients demonstrated clinically significant improvements in their functional ability scores. The mean number of days with pain was decreased by half (from 21 to 10 d/mo). Employed patients reported a 30% decrease from baseline in days of work lost. The researchers concluded that acupuncture treatment is associated with clinically relevant improvements in patients suffering from low back pain of varying degrees of chronification and/or severity.
It is exciting that acupuncture can offer pain patients hope, through affordable and effective treatment for back pain.
1. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2008 Nov 1;33(23):E887-900.
2. Ind Health. 2008 Aug;46(4):336-40
3. Arch Intern Med. 2007 Sep 24;167(17):1892-8
4. Clin J Pain. 2007 Feb;23(2):128-35
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