Researchers from Harvard Medical School (Boston), Georgetown University (Washington DC), University of Arizona School of Medicine (Phoenix) and other medical institutions said that acupuncture is an effective medical intervention for patients with low back pain. These findings are based on a meta-analysis of evidence-based systems of numerous clinical trials. The research team added that their decision is consistent with CDC guidelines and the American College of Physicians (ACP), which believes that acupuncture is the “first-line” medical procedure for the treatment of low back pain. 
The meta-analysis reviews important research, including clinical trials conducted in 2020 on more than 550 patients with chronic low back pain.  The trial determined that patients who used acupuncture had significantly lower pain intensity levels and reduced disability. Another survey in the meta-analysis included three systematic reviews of 54 randomized controlled trials. The total patient sample size exceeds 26,270 patients. The researchers concluded that compared with conventional care, fake acupuncture and no treatment, real acupuncture is more effective in treating patients with chronic low back pain. 
Another study included in the meta-analysis had a patient group size of more than 2,100. The study was completed in 2020 and covered clinical results from 1980 to 2016. Researchers determined that acupuncture is safe and effective in treating subacute and chronic low back pain.  Researchers from Harvard University, Georgetown, Arizona, Ain Shams University, Creighton University School of Medicine (Omaha) and other medical centers reviewed other investigations in the comprehensive study.
The research team determined that there are many differences in acupuncture techniques, depending on the individual diagnosis. Their research results show that there is no standard for acupuncture treatment of low back pain. This is a common misunderstanding that there are too many variables in the treatment methods in the field of acupuncture, including electroacupuncture, moxibustion, distal acupuncture, micro-needling, and local acupuncture.
The reality is that there are many criteria for the application of acupuncture and moxibustion, depending on the cause of low back pain. HealthCMi.com’s continuing education course on acupuncture outlines this, titled Back painThis course covers acupuncture procedures suitable for herniated discs, herniated discs, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, facet joint dysfunction, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, arthritis and other causes of low back pain. Each of these causes determines a specific acupuncture treatment plan.
The HealthCMi Low Back Pain Course provides specific examples of why there are different acupuncture procedures based on personal diagnosis. For example, the application of blood points for low back pain is specifically for acute low back pain, especially strain and sprain. This course further studies the two main blood points for low back pain used in common clinical practice and another little-known third blood point for low back pain. The lumbago acupoint is also part of Dong’s acupuncture system, although it is referred to by a different name in the professional system.
HealthCMi released the CEU course on low back pain and acupuncture to clarify the specific standards for electroacupuncture based on modern research and other important standards. This includes when to apply ipsilateral acupuncture, contralateral acupuncture, local acupuncture, distal acupuncture, warm acupuncture and so on. At HealthCMi, we encourage the research community to understand that acupuncture has more than just analgesic effects. Acupuncture balances parasympathetic tone and brain function connections.  This usually cures the underlying cause of low back pain.
Licensed acupuncturists have received training in the treatment of “root causes and symptoms”. This phrase refers to the choice of acupuncture regimens based on the exact needs of each patient at any given moment. If the patient is experiencing severe back pain, the usual focus of treatment is to relieve symptoms. However, once the pain is reduced, acupuncturists usually increase the use of acupuncture points to solve root diseases. This program change is used to produce lasting pain relief and reduce the incidence of sudden attacks. The multiple options of acupuncture treatment are an advantage, reflecting the incredible depth of treatment specificity based on thousands of years of clinical history and modern research.
1. Urits, Ivan, Jeffrey Kway Wang, Kristina Yancey, Mohammad Mousa, Jai Won Jung, Amnon A. Berger, Islam Mohammad Shehata, Amir Elhassan, Alan D. Kaye and Omar Viswanath. “Acupuncture for low back pain.” Current pain and headache report 25, no. 1 (2021): 1-10.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Department of Anesthesiology, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Anesthesiology, LSUHSC School of Medicine, Shreveport, Louisiana.
Department of Anesthesiology, University of Arizona Phoenix School of Medicine, Phoenix, Arizona.
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC.
Department of Anesthesiology, Ain Shams University, Cairo.
Department of Anesthesiology, Desert Regional Medical Center, Palm Springs, California.
Department of Anesthesiology, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Nebraska.
Valley Pain Consultants – Envision Physician Services, Phoenix, Arizona.
2. Luo Yao, Yang Ming, Liu Tao, Zhong Xu, Tang Wei, Guo Ming, etc. The effect of hands and ears on chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. J Tradit Chin Med. 2019;39(4):587–98. A randomized controlled trial of 152 non-drug participants aged 18-50 years with a history of chronic low back pain ≥ 3 months. 54 patients received hand-ear acupuncture, 50 received standard acupuncture, and 48 received routine care as well as massage and physiotherapy at each visit. 18 treatments were given in 7 weeks.
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