Go Ad-Free
logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

Acupuncture Eases Chronic Back Pain

An ingenious study shows that acupuncture can help ease back pain. Surprisingly, even the control group getting sham acupuncture administered with a toothpick got relief from their pain and reported improved ability to function. The study included 638 chronic back pain patients who belong to the health maintenance organization Group Health. They were divided into four groups for eight weeks of treatment. One group got standardized acupuncture for the back; another got standard care, which included physical therapy and pain medicine; the third got individualized acupuncture treatments; and the fourth got sham acupuncture using a toothpick inside a needle guide tube.

 Any kind of acupuncture treatment alleviated back pain for about 60 percent of those receiving it, and the relief often lasted at least a year. Investigators are still puzzled as to why the toothpicks worked just as well as real acupuncture needles.

[Archives of Internal Medicine, May 11, 2009]

Rate this article
0- 0 ratings
About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.