Acupuncture Eases Lower Back Pain
British Study Shows Small, Long-Term Benefit
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And at 24 months, the acupuncture group was more likely to report less worry about their back pain and less use of pain drugs.
They were also more likely to report having no pain for at least a year, leading the authors to conclude acupuncture provided long-lasting benefits.
"This was one of the most unexpected findings," MacPherson says.
In a separate analysis, acupuncture was also found to be cost effective compared with the usual treatment without acupuncture.
Evidence is mounting that acupuncture can help people with low back pain, but few studies have compared the treatment to other nonconventional therapies.
Chiropractic approaches to pain control are widely used in the United States. And at least one recent study showed benefits for acupressure, which does not use needles.
"There has been very little research comparing treatments head to head, so we can't say much about which ones work best," Manheimer says.