Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Acupuncture May Be More Effective Than Conventional Therapy In Treating Lower Back Pain

Date:
September 26, 2007
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Six months of acupuncture treatment appears to be more effective than conventional therapy in treating low back pain, according to a study in the the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the journals of the American Medical Association, although the study suggests that both sham acupuncture and traditional Chinese verum acupuncture appear to be effective in treating low back pain.

Acupuncture is increasingly used as an alternative therapy, but its value as a treatment for low back pain is still controversial.
Credit: iStockphoto

Six months of acupuncture treatment appears to be more effective than conventional therapy in treating low back pain, according to a study in the Sept. 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, although the study suggests that both sham acupuncture and traditional Chinese verum acupuncture appear to be effective in treating low back pain.

"Low back pain is a common, impairing and disabling condition, often long-term, with an estimated lifetime prevalence of 70 percent to 85 percent," the authors write as background information in the article. "It is the second most common pain for which physician treatment is sought and a major reason for absenteeism and disability." Acupuncture is increasingly used as an alternative therapy, but its value as a treatment for low back pain is still controversial.

Michael Haake, Ph.D., M.D., of the University of Regensburg, Bad Abbach, Germany, and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial involving 1,162 patients (average age 50) who had experienced chronic low back pain for an average of eight years.

Patients underwent ten 30-minute sessions (approximately two sessions per week) of verum acupuncture (387 patients), sham acupuncture (387 patients) or conventional therapy (388 patients). Verum acupunture consisted of needling fixed points and additional points to a depth of 5 millimeters to 40 millimeters based on traditional Chinese medicine, while sham acupuncture consisted of inserting needles superficially (1 millimeter to 3 millimeters) into the lower back avoiding all known verum points or meridians.

Conventional therapy consisted of a combination of medication, physical therapy and exercise. Five additional sessions were offered to those who had a partial response to treatment (10 percent to 50 percent pain reduction).

"A total of 13,475 treatment sessions were conducted (verum acupuncture, 4,821; sham acupuncture, 4,590; conventional therapy, 4,064)," the authors write. Patients receiving the additional five sessions were 232 (59.9 percent) in the verum group, 209 (54.3 percent) in the sham group and 192 (52.5 percent) in the conventional group.

Response rate was defined as a 33 percent improvement in pain or a 12 percent improvement in functional ability. "At six months, response rate was 47.6 percent in the verum acupuncture group, 44.2 percent in the sham acupuncture group and 27.4 percent in the conventional therapy group," the authors note. "Differences among groups were as follows: verum vs. sham, 3.4 percent; verum vs. conventional therapy, 20.2 percent; and sham vs. conventional therapy, 16.8 percent."

"The superiority of both forms of acupuncture suggests a common underlying mechanism that may act on pain generation, transmission of pain signals or processing of pain signals by the central nervous system and that is stronger than the action mechanism of conventional therapy," the authors conclude. "Acupuncture gives physicians a promising and effective treatment option for chronic low back pain, with few adverse effects or contraindications. The improvements in all primary and secondary outcome measures were significant and lasted long after completion of treatment."

Reference: Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(17):1892-1898.

This study was supported by the following German public health insurance companies: Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse, Betriebskrankenkasse, Innungskrankenkasse, Bundesknappschaft, Bundesverband der Landwirtschaftlichen Krankenkassen and Seekasse.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Acupuncture May Be More Effective Than Conventional Therapy In Treating Lower Back Pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070924163035.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2007, September 26). Acupuncture May Be More Effective Than Conventional Therapy In Treating Lower Back Pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070924163035.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Acupuncture May Be More Effective Than Conventional Therapy In Treating Lower Back Pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070924163035.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins