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BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2010 Jun 14;11:118. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-11-118.

Acupuncture for chronic low back pain: protocol for a multicenter, randomized, sham-controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Oriental Rehabilitation Medicine, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 1 Hoegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea.



Use of acupuncture has widely increased in patients with chronic low back pain. However, the evidence supporting its efficacy remains unclear. In this article, we report the design and the protocol of a multi-center randomized sham-controlled trial to treat chronic low back pain. Our goal is to verify the effect of acupuncture on chronic low back pain.


This study is a multi-center randomized sham-controlled trial with 2 parallel arms. Participants included in the study met the following criteria: 1) low back pain lasting for at least the last 3 months, 2) a documented >or= 5 points on a 10 cm visual analog scale for bothersomeness of low back pain at the time of screening and 3) between 18 and 65 years of age. Participants were blinded to the real and sham acupuncture treatments. The real acupuncture treatment group received real acupuncture 2 times a week, during a total of 12 sessions over 6 weeks. The control group received sham acupuncture during the same period. In order to assess the primary and secondary outcome measures, the participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire at the baseline and 6, 8, 12 and 24 weeks after starting the treatments. The primary outcome was measured using the visual analog scale for bothersomeness of low back pain at 8 weeks after the initiation of treatments.


The result of this trial (which will be available in 2010) will demonstrate the efficacy of using acupuncture to treat chronic low back pain.


This study is registered with the U.S. National Institutes of Health Clinical Trials registry: NCT00815529.

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