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Acupuncture Found Effective For Back Pain- Study Finds It Superior To Usual Care

From Acupuncture Today, July, 2009, Vol. 10, Issue 07

"A new study published in the May 11, 2009 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine has added even further to the literature on the value of acupuncture in treating back pain.

Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD, and colleagues examined a group of 638 patients suffering from back pain to determine not only if acupuncture is superior to usual care for treating back pain, but to see if needle insertion at individualized points is the mechanism of action by which acupuncture works best. A total of 10 acupuncture treatments was provided over the course of eight weeks."

Commentary from Dr. Denny: 

This interesting study compares usual or standard medical care with individualized acupuncture care, standard acupuncture care and simulated acupuncture care. All three types of acupuncture care produced better results than usual medical care. What makes this a fascinating study is the apparent benefit from the simulated acupuncture care. It is described as stimulating the acupuncture points with toothpicks on the skin. For those of you reading who are not familiar with acupuncture, there are many acupuncture techniques. There are also acupuncture techniques which do not involve puncturing the skin, which have been reported in Japanese acupuncture for generations. In fact, the Japanese have developed many devices to accomplish non-needle techniques such as Tei-shin, Yuko-shin and others. Many of these devices are used for the needle-phobic patient as well as in pediatric acupuncture. In addition there is an entire system of Japanese acupuncture where needles are not inserted or only superficially inserted on or over acupuncture points. This is called Toyohari.

In summary, acupuncture has many styles. Simply because needles are not inserted, does not make the treatment a “simulation.” Once again we see how difficult it is to “blind” treatments which actually involve patient participation. This method makes sense when you give someone a placebo sugar pill, but is very difficult to assess the effectiveness of hands-on type of treatments.

For more information on lifestyle medicine, pain treatment, regenerative medicine, ozone, vitamin therapy, detoxification, nutrition or any of the other wonderful integrative medicine services we provide, please contact the practice of Dr. Scott Denny and Dr. Justine Denny with our practice location in Davie, Florida. Please visit www.DennyHealth.com to receive a copy of Dr. Denny’s free acupuncture eBook.

Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Avins AL, et al. A randomized trial comparing acupuncture, simulated acupuncture, and usual care for chronic low back pain. Arch Intern Med. 2009 May 11;169(9):858-66.

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