Acupuncture Shows Clinical, Cost Effectiveness

By Gardner, Jonathan | Clinical Psychiatry News, December 2006 | Go to article overview

Acupuncture Shows Clinical, Cost Effectiveness


Gardner, Jonathan, Clinical Psychiatry News


A short course of traditional acupuncture can relieve nonspecific lower-back pain better than usual care at a small increased cost to payers, a new study has found.

The study (BMJ 2006 [Epub doi: 10.1136/bmj.38878.907361.7C]) randomized 160 adults from York, England, into acupuncture and 81 into usual care of physical therapy, manipulation, pain relief drugs, and exercise, following up at 12 and 24 months to test back pain. Researchers selected a larger group for acupuncture to test differences in pain relief among patients treated by different acupuncturists.

Patients who underwent up to 10 acupuncture treatments over 3 months saw their mean score on the 100-point SF-36 bodily pain index--in which 100 equals no pain--increase from 30.8 at baseline to 64 at 12 months and 67.8 at 24 months. By comparison, those in the usual-care group rose from 30.4 at baseline to 58.3 at 12 months and 59.5 at 24 months. The difference at 12 months did not achieve statistical significance, but the difference at 24 months did, researchers said. Their conclusion: "Weak evidence was found of an effect of acupuncture care on nonspecific low back pain at 12 months, but stronger evidence of a small benefit at 24 months. …

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