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Acupuncture reduces pain intensity and bothersomeness of low back pain

Objective: To investigate the efficacy of acupuncture treatment with individualized setting for reduction of bothersomeness in participants with chronic low back pain in a multicenter, randomized, patient-assessor blind, sham-controlled clinical trial.
Methods: 130 adults aged 18 to 65 years with nonspecific low back pain lasting for at least last 3 months prior to the trial participated in the study from 3 hospitals. Participants received individualized real acupuncture treatments or sham acupuncture treatments for more than 6 weeks (twice a week). Primary outcome was change of visual analogue scale (VAS) score for bothersomeness of chronic low back pain. Secondary outcomes included VAS score for pain intensity.

Results: 116 participants finished the treatments and 3- and 6-month follow-ups, with 14 subjects dropping out. Significant difference in VAS score for bothersomeness and pain intensity score of chronic low back pain has been found between the 2 groups (p<0.05) at the primary end point (8 wk). In addition, those 2 scores improved continuously until 3-month follow-up (p=0.011, p=0.005, respectively).
Conclusion: This randomized sham-controlled trial suggests that acupuncture treatment shows better effect on the reduction of the bothersomeness and pain intensity than sham control in participants with chronic low back pain.

Source: Cho YJ, et al. Acupuncture for chronic low back pain: A multicenter, randomized, patient-assessor blind, sham-controlled clinical trial. Spine 2013;38:549-557.

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