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Acupuncture Eases Low Back Pain

Reported May 12, 2009


(Ivanhoe Newswire) May 12, 2009 -- If you experience chronic low back pain, you might want to consider tiny needles as a therapy, and those needles don't even have to penetrate the skin. One of the largest studies of its kind found various types of acupuncture can ease symptoms in people with this common pain.

Researchers studied 638 adults who had never received acupuncture before. The patients were divided into four groups: those who received individualized acupuncture, those who received standardized acupuncture, those who received simulated acupuncture (without going through the skin), and those who received usual care (no acupuncture).

Results of the study showed of the people who got any kind of acupuncture, an extra one in five was functioning significantly better at the end of the seven-week period. An extra one in eight was still functioning better at one year.

 

 

Interestingly, researchers discovered the results were similar for all three acupuncture groups. "We found that the simulated acupuncture, without penetrating the skin, produced as much benefit as needle acupuncture, and that raises questions about how acupuncture works," Daniel C. Cherkin, Ph.D., a senior investigator at Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle, said in a press release.

The investigators are not exactly sure why people found relief with the simulated acupuncture. "Historically, some types of acupuncture have used non-penetrating needles. Such treatments may involve physiological effects that make a clinical difference," Karen J. Sherman, Ph.D., M.P.H., co-author of the study was quoted as saying. "Maybe the context in which people get the treatment has effects that are more important than the mechanically-induced effects."

SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, May 11, 2009