Table 6Acupuncture for treatment of low back pain- Control interventions

Type of control groupCause of PainN studiesDetail of Control intervention
1- Nonactive Control treatments
Placebo/shamNonspecific20Non penetrating needling202,206,207
Superficial needling37, with injection of anesthetics and no stimulation142
Superficial needling at nonacupuncture points 22,99,203without stimulation or ‘de qi’198
Guided tube: with tapping on the tube206,210,212,213,without tapping156, with toothpick inside the tube228
Needling at nonacu points145,218
Sham TENS27,88,223
Sham EMG225
Not described197
Specific3Superficial needling with injection of lidocaine at nonacu points141
Sham TENS201
Gentle tapping162
No-treatment or waiting listNonspecific4No acupuncture24
Waiting list22,222
Delayed acupuncture227
2- Active Controls
Exercise/physical activityNonspecific1Standard exercise program200
Specific0NA
Physical modalitiesNon Specific5TENS: Home treatment applied at acu-points121,209, details not reported53, applied over centre of pain,88 TENS with acupuncture216
Specific1TENS on selected tender points alone176,
PhysiotherapyNonspecific2Posture training aimed to remove muscle imbalance- according to Bruegger-concept198
Physical modalities such as light, electricity or heat163
Specific1Physical modalities such as hot packs, ultrasound, short-wave diathermy, and TENS in addition to muscle strengthening201
TractionNonspecific0NA
Specific1Traction,158,193,229 and rotatory manipulation159
Education/Self careNon Specific1Self care education booklet and videotapes29,228
Specific0NA
Manual treatmentNon Specific6Massage (acupressure) and ethyl chloride spray49, Swedish massage 29
Manipulation and/or mobilization224
Manipulation52,140
Massage and mobilization161
Mobilization or manipulation (and oral medication)164
Specific0NA
Standard care or GPNon Specific5Physiotherapy/exercise, medication, and advise37,99,110,224,226
Specific1Standard care (specific methods not reported)144
MedicationNon Specific7Oral analgesics,52,140,214,220,221 Chinese herbal medication,175 topical analgesics216
Specific6Oral analgesics, 134,138,146,186 intramuscular injection of analgesics154,195
Other method of acupunctureNon Specific17Various method of needling on acu-points,27,49,218,219,225,230 alternative acu-points, 153,168,174,204,211,215,217 addition or use of warming needle/Moxibustion,215 non local points, superficial/deep needling,143 various dosing regiment,136,204,227 auricular, or alternative auricular technique143 dry needling (vs. two techniques of trigger point injection with lidocaine)49, personalized (vs. standard),231
Specific30Needling on muscle tendons,147, various method of needling on acu-points,150,162,166,170,194 alternative acupoints148,149,151,157,160,165,169,171,182,183,190,195,219 addition or use of warming needle/Moxibustion,152,177,181 non local points,154,179,184,187 superficial/deep needling, 178,205,208 fly-probing 189
Active treatment when compared with combination of same active treatment with acupunctureNon Specific6Standard care (continued usual care: NSAIDs, muscle relaxant, paracetamol and back exercises), 226 orthopedic therapy, 99 exercise,200 physiotherapy (not described),198 TENS,216
Specific9Standard care (physiotherapy, remedial exercises, and occupational therapy)144
Traction,158,159,192,193 Massage,161,172,185,232
Acupuncture in combination with another treatmentNon Specific1TENS216
Specific5Traction, 159,188 massage,232 injection and massage,191 cupping,192

Acu=acupuncture; EMG=electromyography; GP=general practitioner care; NA= not applicable; TENS=transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

From: 3, Results

Cover of Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Back Pain II
Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Back Pain II.
Evidence Reports/Technology Assessments, No. 194.
Furlan AD, Yazdi F, Tsertsvadze A, et al.

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