Acupuncture for chronic low back pain in older patients: a randomized, controlled trial

Item

Title

Acupuncture for chronic low back pain in older patients: a randomized, controlled trial

Author(s)

Date

2003

volume

42(12)

pages

1508-1517

Research Type

RCT

Keywords

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine if acupuncture is an effective, safe adjunctive treatment to standard therapy for chronic low back pain (LBP) in older patients. METHODS: The inclusion criteria for subjects were: (i) LBP >/=12 weeks and (ii) age >/=60 yr; the exclusion criteria were (i) spinal tumour, infection or fracture and (ii) associated neurological symptoms. The subjects were randomized to two groups. The control group of subjects continued their usual care as directed by their physicians, i.e. NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, paracetamol and back exercises. Subjects in the acupuncture group in addition received biweekly acupuncture with electrical stimulation for 5 weeks. Outcome was measured by the modified Roland Disability Questionnaire (RDQ) at weeks 0, 2, 6 and 9. The primary outcome measure was change in RDQ score between weeks 0 and 6. RESULTS: Fifty-five patients were enrolled, with eight drop-outs. Twenty-four subjects were randomized to the acupuncture group and 23 were randomized to the control group. Acupuncture subjects had a significant decrease in RDQ score of 4.1 +/- 3.9 at week 6, compared with a mean decrease of 0.7 +/- 2.8 in the control group (P = 0.001). This effect was maintained for up to 4 weeks after treatment at week 9, with a decrease in RDQ of 3.5 +/- 4.4 from baseline, compared with 0.43 +/- 2.7 in the control group (P = 0.007). The mean global transition score was higher in the acupuncture group, 3.7 +/- 1.2, indicating greater improvement, compared with the score in the control group, 2.5 +/- 0.9 (P < 0.001). Fewer acupuncture subjects had medication-related side-effects compared with the control group. CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture is an effective, safe adjunctive treatment for chronic LBP in older patients

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Frequency of Treatment

>1/WK

Time in Treatment

5 Weeks

has health condition studied

Back Pain

has study population number

55

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