Medical Acupuncture on the wrong side of NICE
The last Cochrane review which considered the role of Medical Acupuncture (MA) in the treatment of Low Back Pain (LBP) was carried out by Furlan et al in 2005. In this review verum MA was shown to be efficacious (more effective than ‘sham’) in providing short term pain relief. A good result from research point of view.
The NICE guidelines for the treatment of LBP published in 2009 were partly based on the abovementioned review as well as the GERAC trial which showed MA (including ‘sham’) to be more than twice as effective as conventional treatment in the primary outcome measures. In the GERAC trial, verum MA was not shown to be significantly more effective than ‘sham’ needling however there was a small trend in favour of verum needling.