Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

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Many people have already read this article, but it’s worth reviewing.  It is some of the best press acupuncture has received recently.

A large-scale German study found that acupuncture provided relief for low back pain, performing almost twice as well as conventional medical treatments.

This study confirms what acupuncturists have believed for years; acupuncture can alleviate pain without the side effects of Western medication.  Many acupuncturists devote a substantial portion of their time to treating back pain.  Although I see patients with various complaints, I estimate that back pain, neck pain, and sciatica together comprise about 40% of my practice.

The one concern I have with this study is their definition of “fake” or “sham” acupuncture.  The sham treatments involved the shallow insertion of acupuncture needles into points in the back that don’t traditionally correspond to acupuncture points.  In my opinion, this still constitutes an acupuncture treatment.  Deep insertion of needles is not always necessary for good results, and there are many acupuncture points that lay outside of the standard acupuncture pathways.

Despite that limitation, I think the study is a good reference for anyone looking for relief from low back pain.

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