Azara Blog: Acupuncture allegedly more effective at treating back pain than conventional therapy

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Date published: 2007/09/25

The BBC says:

Acupuncture - real or sham - is more effective at treating back pain than conventional therapies, research suggests.

A German team found almost half the patients treated with acupuncture felt pain relief.

But the Archives of Internal Medicine study also suggests fake acupuncture works nearly as well as the real thing.

In contrast, only about a quarter who received drugs and other Western therapies felt better.

The researchers, from the Ruhr University Bochum, say their findings suggest that the body may react positively to any thin needle prick - or that acupuncture may simply trigger a placebo effect.
...
More than 1,100 patients took part in the study. They were given either conventional therapy, acupuncture or a sham version.

Although needles were used in the sham therapy, they were not inserted as deeply as in standard acupuncture. Neither were they inserted at points thought key to producing a therapeutic effect, or manipulated and rotated once in position.

After six months 47% of patients in the acupuncture group reported a significant improvement in pain symptoms, compared to 44% in the sham group, and just 27% in the group who received conventional therapy.

It's only one study but interesting nonetheless. This certainly sounds like a placebo effect, and it just goes to show how useless so-called conventional therapy is at dealing with back pain, more than anything else.

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