SPINE Trial Study Acupuncture Eases Low Back Pain

Acupuncture can help people with chronic low back pain feel less bothered by their symptoms and function better in their daily activities, according to the largest randomized trial of its kind, published in the May 11, 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine. But the SPINE (Stimulating Points to Investigate Needling Efficacy) trial raises questions about how the ancient practice actually works.  

Compared to the group that got usual care, results were similar for all three of the SPINE trial study acupuncture groups: individualized, standardized, and simulated (without going through skin). Of the people who got any kind of acupuncture, an extra one in five were functioning significantly better at the end of the seven-week treatment - and an extra one in eight were still functioning better at one year.

 

"This study suggests that acupuncture is about as effective as other treatments for chronic back pain that have been found helpful," said SPINE trial leader Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD, a senior investigator at Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle.

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