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J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Dec;19(12):935-41. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0338. Epub 2013 Jun 5.

Effectiveness and acceptance of acupuncture in patients with chronic low back pain: results of a prospective, randomized, controlled trial.

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1 Klinik Am Kurpark , Bad Kissingen, Germany .



To investigate the effectiveness of additional acupuncture in patients with chronic low back pain participating in an inpatient rehabilitation program.


Patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups (A and B), both receiving a standard rehabilitation program according to German guidelines. Patients in group A additionally underwent acupuncture twice weekly, conducted by two Chinese physicians with education in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). At the beginning and end of the program, as well as at 3 months after, patients completed questionnaires about health-related quality of life (Short-Form 36 Health Survey [SF-36]), sociodemographic and clinical data, attitude towards TCM, pain, and adverse events.


Inpatient rehabilitation clinic in Germany.


Patients with chronic low back pain participating in an inpatient rehabilitation program.


Acceptance of acupuncture, health-related quality of life, and pain/symptoms.


One hundred and forty-three patients were analyzed: 74 in group A (intervention) and 69 in group B (controls); 67% were men and 33% were women, with a mean age of 50.7 years. Acceptance of TCM was excellent: 89% of the patients would want TCM to be integrated into standard inpatient rehabilitation, and 83% would even have paid for TCM if necessary. Responses to SF-36 questionnaires showed that group A reported significantly better physical functioning, general health, vitality, and emotional role than group B. Pain outcomes in group A were superior to those in group B. Specifically, pain with sitting/standing, pain upon carrying loads of 10 kg or more, and prickling in hands and feet were significantly diminished.


Acupuncture was highly accepted and had positive effects in patients with chronic low back pain. These results show that acupuncture can be an effective, well-tolerated therapy with no major adverse events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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