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BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Aug 29;17(1):425. doi: 10.1186/s12906-017-1942-6.

Survey of integrative lumbar spinal stenosis treatment in Korean medicine doctors: preliminary data for clinical practice guidelines.

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Jaseng Spine and Joint Research Institute, Jaseng Medical Foundation, 858 Eonju-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Division of Clinical Medicine, School of Korean Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan, Republic of Korea.
Medical Research Division, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon, Republic of Korea.
Department of Korean Rehabilitation Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Jaseng Spine and Joint Research Institute, Jaseng Medical Foundation, 858 Eonju-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



Considering that large variations exist amongst practitioners in lumbar disorder management and the significant costs that lumbar disorders incur, determining clinical practice patterns to provide preliminary data for standardization should be given higher priority. Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is commonly treated using integrative non-surgical methods by Korean medicine doctors (KMDs) in Korea, and this is the first study to assess current Korean medicine practice trends for LSS.


A survey on KMD diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and decision-making in LSS treatment was developed in a 3-step procedure of preliminary drafting, revision based on extramural expert opinion, and final editing. The survey was conducted at the internal conference of a spine-specialty Korean medicine hospital on January 25th, 2015.


The response rate was high at 79.19% (n = 118/149). Participants replied that they treated 7.3 ± 6.8 LSS patients/day using a multimodal treatment method consisting of acupuncture, pharmacopuncture, herbal medicine, Chuna manipulation, and electroacupuncture. Acupuncture mainly used Ashi points and MSAT, and pharmacopuncture mainly Shinbaro solution. The most frequently prescribed herbal medicine was Chungpa-jun, and the most commonly applied Chuna techniques were sidelying lumbar extension dysfunction correction technique, and prone lumbosacral joint distraction method. Radiological findings were mainly referred to for diagnosis, and clinical symptoms, age, radiological findings, and medical history were regarded to be important for prognosis. Participants replied that 7.8 ± 3.3 weeks were required for 50% reduction in pain, and 16.1 ± 7.7 weeks for 80% reduction.


These results suggest that KMDs in Korea combine a conventional approach to LSS and a Korean medicine approach to low back pain for integration of empirical- and evidence-based diagnosis and treatment. The findings may contribute in bridging the divide between evidence and clinical practice guidelines for Korean medicine treatment of LSS and real-world clinical practice in future research.


Complementary therapies; Health surveys; Integrative medicine; Spinal Stenosis

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