Even Fake Acupuncture Best for Back Pain

Chronic sufferers find relief in treatment
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2007 3:24 AM CDT
Even Fake Acupuncture Best for Back Pain
Anah McMahon, L. Ac. feels for tightness in the muscles around the spine of Mariah VanHorn before inserting one inch seirin acupuncture needles into the tissue to relieve lower back pain, Monday, Sept. 24, 2007, at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago. Researchers at Ruhr University Bochum...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Acupuncture has a far better success rate than other treatments for patients with chronic lower back pain,  and fake acupuncture is nearly as effective as the real thing, a new study has found. Normal medical treatment produced significant improvement in 24% of people, while 47% of acupuncture patients felt better, as did 44% of those who got a sham version of the procedure.

In the fake procedures, needles were inserted only shallowly and weren't placed in any of the traditional pressure points. Acupuncture also reduced the number of pain pills sufferers took: only 15% of those getting traditional acupuncture needed extra medication while 59% of people getting conventional therapy needed extra painkillers. (Read more acupuncture stories.)

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