Based on the results of this review, acupuncture should be advocated for the treatment of chronic LBP and included in the European Guidelines for this condition, given the equivalent effect sizes to treatments currently advocated (exercise, NSAIDS, behavioral treatments vs. no treatment). It is more difficult to make conclusions about acupuncture as an adjunct to conventional treatment as there is such a wide variety of treatments included, not all of which are evidence based. However, the evidence for acupuncture as a cost effective adjunct to standard medical care is clear cut and therefore should be advocated. The effectiveness of acupuncture alone in comparison with conventional therapies is conflicting and requires more research. Another major area for further work stems from the finding that acupuncture is not more effective than a physiologically active sham control.
Although the reporting and methodologic quality of the studies have been improved in recent years, in terms of detailed reporting of acupuncture treatment, larger sample sizes, longer-term follow-up, blinding and intention-to-treat analysis etc., there is still lack of consensus (and thus guidelines) with regards to adequate acupuncture treatment (number of needles inserted, needle manipulation technique, treatment frequency and sessions, appropriate cointerventions etc.). We therefore suggest that future trials should focus on such areas where there are few or no trials to guide practice.
The authors thank the Vice Chancellors Research Scholarship, and the Strategic Priority Grant, Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.Funding information
Institutional funds were received in support of this work. No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.
Suzanne McDonough, PhD, 1F118, Health & Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Shore Road, CO. Antrim, Northern Ireland, BT37 0QB; E-mail: email@example.com
Spine. 2008;33(23):E887-E900. © 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).
Cite this: Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review - Medscape - Nov 01, 2008.