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Acupuncture for back pain: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials and an update with data from the most recent studies



Acupuncture for back pain: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials and an update with data from the most recent studies



Schmerz 16(2): 129-139



Acupuncture is commonly used to treat back pain. A meta-analysis of clinical trials of acupuncture for this condition came to a positive conclusion whilst a qualitative review was negative. To compare our meta-analysis of trials of acupuncture for the treatment of back pain with a qualitative review and the most recent studies on the subject. A systematic literature search was conducted to retrieve all randomised controlled trials of any form of acupuncture for any type of back pain in humans. The adequacy of the acupuncture was assessed by consulting six experienced acupuncturists. The main outcome measure for the meta-analysis was numbers of subjects who where improved at the end of treatment. These data are discussed in relation to the qualitative review and the most recent studies. Twelve studies were included of which nine presented data suitable for meta-analysis. The odds ratio of improvement with acupuncture compared with control intervention was 2.30 (95% confidence interval 1.28 to 4.13). For sham-controlled, evaluator-blinded studies, the odds ratio was 1.37 (95% confidence interval, 0.84-2.25). The results from the majority of the most recent studies also support the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of back pain. Collectively, these data imply that acupuncture is superior to various control interventions, although there is insufficient evidence to state whether it is superior to placebo.

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Accession: 045160646

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 11956898

DOI: 10.1007/s004820100099


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