A systematic review
of randomized controlled trials.
To evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness
for the management of nonspecific low back pain
Summary of Background Data. Acupuncture
is one of the oldest forms of therapy, but little is known about the effectiveness
for low back pain
Randomized controlled trials were done to assess the effectiveness
of all types of acupuncture
treatment, which involves needling for subjects with nonspecific low back pain
. Two reviewers blinded with respect to authors, institution, and journal independently assessed the methodologic quality of the studies. Because data were statistically and clinically too heterogeneous, a qualitative review was performed. The evidence was classified into four levels: strong, moderate, limited, or no evidence.
Eleven randomized controlled trials were included. Overall, the methodologic quality was low. Only two studies met the preset “high quality” level for this review. No study clearly evaluated acupuncture
for acute low back pain
. The results indicate that there was no evidence showing acupuncture
to be more effective than no treatment. There was moderate evidence indicating that acupuncture
is not more effective than trigger-point injection or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and there was limited evidence that acupuncture
is not more effective than placebo or sham acupuncture
for the management of chronic low back pain
Because this systematic review
did not clearly indicate that acupuncture
is effective in the management of back pain, the authors would not recommend acupuncture
as a regular treatment for patients with low back pain
. There clearly is a need for more high-quality randomized controlled trials.