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Acupuncture, Traditional or Not, Helps Lower Back Pain

Posted by Nirmala N.

According to a recent German study, acupuncture is more effective than conventional treatments to eradicate lower back pain...however, it's no more effective than a "sham needle" treatment. The study looked at over a thousand patients treated with traditional Chinese acupuncture, sham acupuncture, and conventional approaches like drugs and physical therapy. According to researchers, acupuncture helped easae the inensity of pain and also gave patients a reprieve from chronic disabilities associated with their back pain. With the traditional acupuncture, needles were inserted in fixed points and depths on the body. With the sham treatment, needles were inserted in the lower back but not at acupuncture points or the proper depth. All the same, patients who got both traditional and sham acupuncture were twice as likely to improve over six months than those who didn't.

Comments (3)
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Of all my years in practicing a healthier lifestyle through exercise, alternative medicine and a healthy diet, I have never heard any thing negative about acupuncture. I am all for it. I just wish my insurance covered it like chiropractic care.
I had actually read about this study. I wouldn't necessarily put it in the "negative about acupuncture" category. It could be that the placebo effect of the "sham"needles was so profound that the benefits of proper acupuncture ended up being the same. Both sets of patients had improvement, so in the long run I don't think they probably cared if they were in the placebo group or not. I know I wouldn't. Better is better. :)
I have been a practicing acupuncturist for 6 1/2 years and have had countless great experiences treating back pain. I was taught by both my Korean and Chinese instructors that the acupuncture points are actually more like zones. Your acupuncturist may needle approximately 1/4 inch higher or lower at the lumbar points and the patient will receive the same effect as if the acupuncturist was to needle at the exact point. There is also something in Chinese medicine called the "ashi" points. Simply needle the place that hurts for relief. Use "ashi" points at a minimum though. Two ashi points is plenty in combination with needling into actual acupuncture points. I use these two methods when I'm treating back pain with great success. Thank you.
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