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Acupuncture Eases Low Back Pain Better Than Medical Methods

Posted: September 25, 2007
Six months of traditional Chinese or even sham acupuncture treatment appeared more effective than conventional treatment for low back pain, says a German study of almost 1,200 patients.

Traditional (verum) acupuncture involves needling of fixed points and additional points on the body to a depth of 5 to 40 millimeters, while sham acupuncture involves needling to a depth of 1 to 3 millimeters into the lower back, avoiding known pressure points.

Patients in the study were divided into three treatment groups: verum acupuncture; sham acupuncture; and conventional therapy, which consisted of medication, physical therapy and exercise.

Patient response rate (defined as a 33 percent improvement in pain or a 12 percent improvement in functional ability) was checked after six months of treatment. Response rates were: verum group, 47.6 percent; sham group, 44.2 percent; conventional group, 27.4 percent.

The findings are in the Sept. 24 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.