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Acupuncture helps relieve back pain

A new and large study has found that acupuncture, and even simulated acupuncture using toothpicks, appears to relieve symptoms of chronic low back pain better than the standard treatment. The study was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and was published in last week’s issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study which was done on 683 adults aged 18 to 70 with chronic lower back pain, found that 60 per cent of participants who received any one of three types of acupuncture - customized, standard and simulated acupuncture - reported they had improved function after eight weeks of treatment. That compares to just 39 per cent of those who received standard care of their choice, which could include a doctor’s visit, chiropractic treatment or massage. A follow-up one year later showed 59 per cent to 65 per cent of those in the acupuncture groups were still experiencing improvement, compared with 50 per cent of those in the usual-care group.

The fact that the simulated acupuncture had the same effect as the real acupuncture raises questions about how acupuncture works to relieve pain, the authors note.

More about this in the video below with Dr. Rhonda Low from CTV:

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