Acupuncture in the Management of Chronic Low Back Pain: A Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Objective

To assess the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic low back pain.

Methods

Patients (n = 60) with chronic low back pain were recruited and randomly allocated to either Acupuncture therapy or Placebo transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) groups. Patients were treated weekly for 6 weeks, and blinded assessments were carried out pre- and post-treatment using the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) and visual analog scales (VAS) for pain, the Short-form 36 quality-of-life questionnaire, and a simple range of motion measurement. A total of 46 patients completed the trial and were followed up at 6 months.

Results

Analysis of results using t tests showed that in both groups there were significant pre-post improvements for all scores, except for MPQ scores in the Placebo-TENS group. There was no significant difference between the 2 groups for any of the outcome measures at the end of treatment. Results from the 6-month follow-up would suggest that the response was better in the acupuncture group.

Discussion

Further research is necessary to fully assess the efficacy of this treatment in combating chronic low back pain using larger sample sizes or alternative control groups.

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