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Acupunct Electrother Res. 2010;35(3-4):133-46.

A comparison between pulsed radiofrequency and electro-acupuncture for relieving pain in patients with chronic low back pain.

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  • 1Institute of BioMedical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taiwan.


Many treatment options for chronic low back pain are available, including varied forms of electric stimulation. But little is known about the electricity effect between electro-acupuncture and pulsed radiofrequency. The objective of this study is to assess the difference in effectiveness of pain relief between pulsed radiofrequency and electro-acupuncture. Visual analog score (VAS) pain score, the Oswestry disability index (ODI) to measure a patient's permanent functional disability, and Short form 36 (SF-36) which is a survey used in health assessment to determine the cost-effectiveness of a health treatment, were used as rating systems to measure the pain relief and functional improvement effect of pulsed radiofrequency and electro-acupuncture, based on the methodological quality of the randomized controlled trials, the relevance between the study groups, and the consistency of the outcome evaluation. First, the baseline status before therapy shows no age and gender influence in the SF-36 and VAS score but it is significant in the ODI questionnaire. From ANOVA analyses, it is apparent that radiofrequency therapy is a significant improvement over electro-acupuncture therapy after one month. But electro-acupuncture also showed functional improvement in the lumbar spine from the ODI. This study provides sufficient evidence of the superiority of pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) therapy for low back pain relief compared with both electro-acupuncture (EA) therapy and the control group. But the functional improvement of the lumbar spine was proved under EA therapy only. Both therapies are related to electricity effects.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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