Research, Case Studies & Testimonials


Published On: Thursday, June 5, 2014
Category: Pain Clinic

A randomized trial comparing acupuncture, simulated acupuncture, and usual care for chronic low back pain

A large American study has concluded that acupuncture for back pain results in persistent clinically meaningful improvement, which is better than that achieved with standard care. All participants received a self-care booklet with information on exercise and lifestyle modifications and all who received acupuncture of any kind were allowed to continue usual care as required. 638 adults received 10 treatments over seven weeks. After eight weeks, 60% of patients receiving any type of acupuncture showed improvement in their level of pain and function, compared with 39% for those receiving usual care. After one year, 65% of participants receiving either individualised or standardised acupuncture continued to experience improvement, compared with 59% for simulated acupuncture and 50% for standard care. By eight weeks, use of medication for cLBP had decreased to 47% in the real and simulated acupuncture groups versus 59% in the usual care group and this difference persisted after one year. At 52 weeks, significantly more participants reported cutting down on activities for more than seven days in the past month in the usual care group (18%) than in the real or simulated acupuncture groups (5%-7%). The authors conclude that, compared with usual care, acupuncture has persistent beneficial effects on cLBP, which result in clinically meaningful improvements in function. 


A randomized trial comparing acupuncture, simulated acupuncture, and usual care for chronic low back pain. Arch Intern Med. 2009 May 11;169(9):858-66



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