Does Acupuncture Work for Back Pain?
You have probably tried a lot of different treatments over the years against your bad back. I’ve written this article for people like you who wonder if acupuncture really works for chronic back pain. The fact is that there have been numerous studies done on acupuncture and back pain. Here are some of them:
An interesting study was done at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine. Researches in this study looked on 22 independent acupuncture studies done on back pain all over the world. All the studies they looked at had been double blinded which means that people receiving treatment didn’t know if they were receiving real acupuncture or a sham acupuncture treatment. The sham treatment was usually made by inserting fake needles or not inserting the needles at the correct places. The researches found a significant difference in pain levels from the people received real acupuncture and people who received the sham acupuncture treatment. The author of the study Eric Manheimer says: “From our analysis, the message for people with chronic low back pain is that acupuncture is a truly effective therapy that provides significant pain relief,”
The researches in this study also looked on short term effect as well as long term effects and found that acupuncture showed definite pain relief on the short term side. The pain relief also extended over the long term but more studies was needed before the sentence set.
In another study done at the Lund University Hospital in Sweden looked on acupuncture as a long term relief for low back pain. It showed even more evidence that acupuncture works.
In the study 50 people who had tried to relieve lower back pain for 6 months or more were selected. The group was divided in two with one placebo controlled group and one group with real acupuncture treatment. The test persons where given 8 initial acupuncture treatments with an interval of one per week. Then a ninth treatment two months after the initial 8 weeks as well as a tenth and final treatment one month after the ninth treatment.
Patients were to grade the pain they were experiencing throughout the day in small pain diaries. These diaries was then analyzed to see if there were any difference in perceived pain between the two groups.
The scientist found remarkable differences between the placebo group and the real acupuncture group. At the interval 1, 3, and 6 months after end of the acupuncture treatments the difference was obvious. Of 14 patients who had been on sick leave, 6 patients could resume 100% work capacity. The intake of painkillers 6 months after was 28 lower in the acupuncture group while it was the same in the placebo group.
But should you base your decision on scientific studies? The answer is to some degree. Remember that the quality of a acupuncture treatment depends on the skill of the acupuncturist. How well he/she can diagnose your problem and where he places the needles, as well as how accurate he places them.
Another thing you should keep in mind is to look at the cause of the back pain. If bad posture is the cause then acupuncture might only relieve the pain temporary. The best approach is to both focus on the symptom (pain) and the cause for the back pain.