Acupuncture for Low Back Pain PDF Print E-mail


Orthopedic Medicine and Pain Management

By Dr. Taya Stanley

A high percentage of the clients who see practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or acupuncturists, come for the treatment of a pain condition. In fact, a statistical analysis of our TCM clinic, a rural, moderately sized clinic located in the Sierra foothills of California, showed over 80% of our patients over the last five years listed pain as their chief complaint at the time of their first treatment. Of those a significant portion complained of lumbago, or low back pain.

With these kinds of numbers in mind, a German study done in 2002 researched the option of combining acupuncture with their routine conservative orthopedic treatment (OCT) for chronic low back pain. They asked if patients’ outcome would improve with the combined treatment. They included 174 in-patients in their study at their low back pain rehabilitation center. They administered 12 treatments of acupuncture and also executed a 3 month follow up on the group. They split the group into three sub groups: group one received acupuncture verum and OCT. Group two relieved sham acupuncture and OCT, group three received only OCT. The result after 3 months showed significant results for verum acupuncture over sham acupuncture and for verum acupuncture over OCT only. They concluded that acupuncture could be an important supplement to be included into the routine treatment of chronic low back pain. This outcome supports similar findings we have experienced working with clients at our clinic. In addition, it speaks to the idea of adding acupuncturists into the hospital environment, as a routine modality working in synchronicity with western allopathic approaches to pain.


Molsberger AF. (2002) Does acupuncture improve the orthopedic management of chronic low back pain--a randomized, blinded, controlled trial with 3 months follow up. Orthopedic Surgery and Research, Kasernenstr 1b, 40213, Düsseldorf, Germany. PubMed


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