Acupuncture treatment is superior to anestheic injection for the treatment of low back pain. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Comparison of the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment and local anaesthetic injection for low back pain: a randomised controlled clinical trial.
Acupunct Med. 2009 Dec;27(4):174-7. PMID: 19942724
OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of repeated acupuncture stimulation and local anaesthetic injection at the most painful points in patients with low back pain. METHOD: This randomised controlled clinical trial involved 26 patients with low back pain randomly allocated to either an acupuncture group (n = 13) or a local anaesthetic injection group (n = 13). Both acupuncture and anaesthetic injection were performed at two to five of the most painful points on the lower back once weekly for 4 weeks. In the acupuncture group, a 0.18 mm diameter stainless steel needle was inserted to a depth of 10-20 mm and manual stimulation was applied. In the local anaesthetic injection group, a 0.5 mm diameter needle was inserted to a depth of 10-20 mm and a local anaesthetic was injected. Participants evaluated pain using a Visual Analogue Scale immediately before and after the first treatment, before each subsequent treatment, and at 2 weeks and 4 weeks after completion of treatment. RESULTS: There was a significant difference between the two groups in the change in Visual Analogue Scale pain scores (p<0.01), with acupuncture providing more favourable results than local anaesthetic injection. The reduction in pain score from baseline calculated at each time period was significantly different between the two groups after the first (p<0.05) and final (p<0.01) treatments, and during the follow-up period (after 2 weeks (p<0.01) and 4 weeks (p<0.05)). CONCLUSION: Both injection and acupuncture relieved pain, but acupuncture was superior for the immediate and sustained effects, suggesting that it is a useful treatment for low back pain. The difference in the effects may be attributable to differences in the mechanism of pain suppression.