Study suggests acupuncture may be better than no acupuncture, sham acupuncture for chronic pain
An analysis of patient data from 29 randomized controlled trials suggests that acupuncture may be better than no acupuncture or sham acupuncture for the treatment of some chronic pain, according to a report published Online First by Archives of Internal Medicine.
Acupuncture, the practice of inserting and stimulating needles at specific points on the body, is widely used for chronic pain, although controversy remains about its value, according to the study background.
The individual patient data meta-analyses conducted by Andrew J. Vickers, D.Phil., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and colleagues used data from previously published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with a total of 17,922 patients from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Sweden. Researchers sought to determine the effect size of acupuncture for some chronic pain conditions.
"We found acupuncture to be superior to both no-acupuncture control and sham acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain," the authors comment. "Although the data indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo, the differences between true and sham acupuncture are relatively modest, suggesting that factors in addition to the specific effects of needling are important contributors to therapeutic effects."
Sham acupuncture in the trials included needles inserted superficially, devices with needles that retracted into the handle rather than penetrating the skin, and non-needle approaches such as deactivated electrical stimulation or detuned laser, according to the study.
The authors report that patients receiving acupuncture had less pain with scores that were 0.23, 0.16 and 0.15 SDs (standard deviations) lower than sham controls for back and neck pain, osteoarthritis and chronic headaches, respectively. The effect sizes in comparison to no-acupuncture controls were 0.55, 0.57 and 0.42 SDs, according to the study results.
"Our results from individual patient data meta-analyses of nearly 18,000 randomized patients in high-quality RCTs provide the most robust evidence to date that acupuncture is a reasonable referral option for patients with chronic pain," the authors conclude.
In a commentary, Andrew L. Avins, M.D., M.P.H., of Kaiser-Permanente, Northern California Division of Research, Oakland, writes: "The relationship between conventional allopathic medical care and the world of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) remains ambiguous."
"At the end of the day, our patients seek our help to feel better and lead longer and more enjoyable lives. It's ideal to understand the mechanism of action, which carries the potential for developing more and better interventions. But the ultimate questions is: does this intervention work (or, more completely, do its benefits outweigh its risks and justify its costs)?" Avins continues.
"At least in the case of acupuncture, Vickers et al have provided some robust evidence that acupuncture seems to provide modest benefits over usual care for patients with diverse sources of chronic pain. Perhaps a more productive strategy at this point would be to provide whatever benefits we can for our patients, while we continue to explore more carefully all mechanisms of healing," Avins concludes.
Journal reference: JAMA Internal Medicine
Provided by JAMA and Archives Journals
- Acupuncture for pain no better than placebo and not without harm Mar 24, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Two randomized controlled trials highlight difficulties in treating migraines Jan 09, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Acupuncture eases chronic low back pain in SPINE trial May 11, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Chinese acupuncture affects brain's ability to regulate pain, study shows Aug 10, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Acupuncture not effective in stroke recovery Sep 27, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
(AP)—A woman who lost both hands, her left leg and right foot after contracting a flesh-eating disease has been fitted with prosthetic hands.
Other 4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(AP)—Medical marijuana use in Illinois is now in Gov. Pat Quinn's hands after the state Senate approved legislation.
Other 15 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
A Nigerian court on Friday sentenced two officials from a pharmaceutical company to seven years in prison over the sale of an adulterated teething drug which killed 84 babies in 2008.
Other 15 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—Many Americans feel that keeping out-of-pocket health care costs is more important than staying with the same primary care physician.
Other 17 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(AP)—China is phasing out its reliance on executed prisoners for donated organs, but an architect of the country's transplant system said Friday that ingrained cultural attitudes are impeding the rise of ...
Other 20 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
The neural machinery underlying our olfactory sense continues to be an enigma for neuroscience. A recent review in Neuron seeks to expand traditional ideas about how neurons in the olfactory bulb might encode information about ...
15 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—What if the quality of your work depends more on your focus on the piano keys or canvas or laptop than your musical or painting or computing skills? If target users can be convinced, they ...
16 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
In 2008 researchers from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine, which has previously been used to treat schizophrenia, is also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as ...
13 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Working with lab mice models of multiple sclerosis (MS), UC Davis scientists have detected a novel molecular target for the design of drugs that could be safer and more effective than current FDA-approved ...
13 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |