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Randomised controlled trial of a short course of traditional acupuncture compared with usual care for persistent non-specific low back pain.
BMJ. 2006 Sep 23; 333(7569):623.BMJ

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine whether a short course of traditional acupuncture improves longer term outcomes for patients with persistent non-specific low back pain in primary care.

DESIGN

Pragmatic, open, randomised controlled trial.

SETTING

Three private acupuncture clinics and 18 general practices in York, England.

PARTICIPANTS

241 adults aged 18-65 with non-specific low back pain of 4-52 weeks' duration.

INTERVENTIONS

10 individualised acupuncture treatments from one of six qualified acupuncturists (160 patients) or usual care only (81 patients).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES

The primary outcome was SF-36 bodily pain, measured at 12 and 24 months. Other outcomes included reported use of analgesics, scores on the Oswestry pain disability index, safety, and patient satisfaction.

RESULTS

39 general practitioners referred 289 patients of whom 241 were randomised. At 12 months average SF-36 pain scores increased by 33.2 to 64.0 in the acupuncture group and by 27.9 to 58.3 in the control group. Adjusting for baseline score and for any clustering by acupuncturist, the estimated intervention effect was 5.6 points (95% confidence interval -0.2 to 11.4) at 12 months (n = 213) and 8.0 points (2.8 to 13.2) at 24 months (n = 182). The magnitude of the difference between the groups was about 10%-15% of the final pain score in the control group. Functional disability was not improved. No serious or life threatening events were reported.

CONCLUSIONS

Weak evidence was found of an effect of acupuncture on persistent non-specific low back pain at 12 months, but stronger evidence of a small benefit at 24 months. Referral to a qualified traditional acupuncturist for a short course of treatment seems safe and acceptable to patients with low back pain.

TRIAL REGISTRATION

ISRCTN80764175 [controlled-trials.com].

Authors+Show Affiliations

School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Comparative Study
Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Randomized Controlled Trial
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

16980316

Citation

Thomas, K J., et al. "Randomised Controlled Trial of a Short Course of Traditional Acupuncture Compared With Usual Care for Persistent Non-specific Low Back Pain." BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), vol. 333, no. 7569, 2006, p. 623.
Thomas KJ, MacPherson H, Thorpe L, et al. Randomised controlled trial of a short course of traditional acupuncture compared with usual care for persistent non-specific low back pain. BMJ. 2006;333(7569):623.
Thomas, K. J., MacPherson, H., Thorpe, L., Brazier, J., Fitter, M., Campbell, M. J., Roman, M., Walters, S. J., & Nicholl, J. (2006). Randomised controlled trial of a short course of traditional acupuncture compared with usual care for persistent non-specific low back pain. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), 333(7569), 623.
Thomas KJ, et al. Randomised Controlled Trial of a Short Course of Traditional Acupuncture Compared With Usual Care for Persistent Non-specific Low Back Pain. BMJ. 2006 Sep 23;333(7569):623. PubMed PMID: 16980316.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Randomised controlled trial of a short course of traditional acupuncture compared with usual care for persistent non-specific low back pain. AU - Thomas,K J, AU - MacPherson,H, AU - Thorpe,L, AU - Brazier,J, AU - Fitter,M, AU - Campbell,M J, AU - Roman,M, AU - Walters,S J, AU - Nicholl,J, Y1 - 2006/09/15/ PY - 2006/9/19/pubmed PY - 2006/10/13/medline PY - 2006/9/19/entrez SP - 623 EP - 623 JF - BMJ (Clinical research ed.) JO - BMJ VL - 333 IS - 7569 N2 - OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a short course of traditional acupuncture improves longer term outcomes for patients with persistent non-specific low back pain in primary care. DESIGN: Pragmatic, open, randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Three private acupuncture clinics and 18 general practices in York, England. PARTICIPANTS: 241 adults aged 18-65 with non-specific low back pain of 4-52 weeks' duration. INTERVENTIONS: 10 individualised acupuncture treatments from one of six qualified acupuncturists (160 patients) or usual care only (81 patients). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was SF-36 bodily pain, measured at 12 and 24 months. Other outcomes included reported use of analgesics, scores on the Oswestry pain disability index, safety, and patient satisfaction. RESULTS: 39 general practitioners referred 289 patients of whom 241 were randomised. At 12 months average SF-36 pain scores increased by 33.2 to 64.0 in the acupuncture group and by 27.9 to 58.3 in the control group. Adjusting for baseline score and for any clustering by acupuncturist, the estimated intervention effect was 5.6 points (95% confidence interval -0.2 to 11.4) at 12 months (n = 213) and 8.0 points (2.8 to 13.2) at 24 months (n = 182). The magnitude of the difference between the groups was about 10%-15% of the final pain score in the control group. Functional disability was not improved. No serious or life threatening events were reported. CONCLUSIONS: Weak evidence was found of an effect of acupuncture on persistent non-specific low back pain at 12 months, but stronger evidence of a small benefit at 24 months. Referral to a qualified traditional acupuncturist for a short course of treatment seems safe and acceptable to patients with low back pain. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN80764175 [controlled-trials.com]. SN - 1756-1833 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/16980316/Randomised_controlled_trial_of_a_short_course_of_traditional_acupuncture_compared_with_usual_care_for_persistent_non_specific_low_back_pain_ L2 - https://www.bmj.com/lookup/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=16980316 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -