Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Acupuncture may be better than no acupuncture, sham acupuncture for chronic pain

Date:
September 10, 2012
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
An analysis of patient data from 29 randomized controlled trials suggests that acupuncture may be better than no acupuncture or sham acupuncture for the treatment of some chronic pain, according to a new report.

An analysis of patient data from 29 randomized controlled trials suggests that acupuncture may be better than no acupuncture or sham acupuncture for the treatment of some chronic pain, according to a report published Online First by Archives of Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

Acupuncture, the practice of inserting and stimulating needles at specific points on the body, is widely used for chronic pain, although controversy remains about its value, according to the study background.

The individual patient data meta-analyses conducted by Andrew J. Vickers, D.Phil., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and colleagues used data from previously published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with a total of 17,922 patients from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Sweden. Researchers sought to determine the effect size of acupuncture for some chronic pain conditions.

"We found acupuncture to be superior to both no-acupuncture control and sham acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain," the authors comment. "Although the data indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo, the differences between true and sham acupuncture are relatively modest, suggesting that factors in addition to the specific effects of needling are important contributors to therapeutic effects."

Sham acupuncture in the trials included needles inserted superficially, devices with needles that retracted into the handle rather than penetrating the skin, and non-needle approaches such as deactivated electrical stimulation or detuned laser, according to the study.

The authors report that patients receiving acupuncture had less pain with scores that were 0.23, 0.16 and 0.15 SDs (standard deviations) lower than sham controls for back and neck pain, osteoarthritis and chronic headaches, respectively. The effect sizes in comparison to no-acupuncture controls were 0.55, 0.57 and 0.42 SDs, according to the study results.

"Our results from individual patient data meta-analyses of nearly 18,000 randomized patients in high-quality RCTs provide the most robust evidence to date that acupuncture is a reasonable referral option for patients with chronic pain," the authors conclude.

The Acupuncture Trialists' Collaboration is funded by an R21 (AT0041891 from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health to an author) and by a grant from the Samueli Institute.

Commentary: Needling the Status Quo

In a commentary, Andrew L. Avins, M.D., M.P.H., of Kaiser-Permanente, Northern California Division of Research,Oakland, writes: "The relationship between conventional allopathic medical care and the world of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) remains ambiguous."

"At the end of the day, our patients seek our help to feel better and lead longer and more enjoyable lives. It's ideal to understand the mechanism of action, which carries the potential for developing more and better interventions. But the ultimate questions is: does this intervention work (or, more completely, do its benefits outweigh its risks and justify its costs)?" Avins continues.

"At least in the case of acupuncture, Vickers et al have provided some robust evidence that acupuncture seems to provide modest benefits over usual care for patients with diverse sources of chronic pain. Perhaps a more productive strategy at this point would be to provide whatever benefits we can for our patients, while we continue to explore more carefully all mechanisms of healing," Avins concludes.


Story Source:

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


Journal References:

  1. Andrew J. Vickers. Acupuncture for Chronic PainIndividual Patient Data Meta-analysis. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2012; 1 DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3654
  2. Andrew L. Avins. Needling the Status QuoComment on “Acupuncture for Chronic Pain”Needling the Status Quo. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2012; 1 DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2012.4198

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Acupuncture may be better than no acupuncture, sham acupuncture for chronic pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120910161548.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2012, September 10). Acupuncture may be better than no acupuncture, sham acupuncture for chronic pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120910161548.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Acupuncture may be better than no acupuncture, sham acupuncture for chronic pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120910161548.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Might Not Be Out Of Control In U.S., But Coverage Is

Ebola Might Not Be Out Of Control In U.S., But Coverage Is

Newsy (Oct. 2, 2014) Coverage of the lone Ebola patient discovered in Texas has U.S. media in a frenzy — but does the coverage match the reality? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Hunts Contacts of Ebola Patient, Including Children

US Hunts Contacts of Ebola Patient, Including Children

AFP (Oct. 2, 2014) Health officials in Texas on Wednesday scoured the Dallas area for people, including schoolchildren, who came in contact with a Liberian man who was diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Losing Sense Of Smell Can Indicate Death

Study Says Losing Sense Of Smell Can Indicate Death

Newsy (Oct. 2, 2014) Researchers found elderly adults with a poor sense of smell are more likely to die within five years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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