Importance of modes of acupuncture in the treatment of chronic nociceptive low back pain

Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
M Thomas, T Lundberg


A controlled study of different modes of acupuncture stimulation was conducted on patients fulfilling clinical criteria for chronic low back pain of nociceptive origin. Forty patients were randomly entered into the study. Thirty had three trial treatments with manual stimulation of needles (MS), electrical low frequency stimulation at 2 Hz (LF), and high-frequency stimulation at 80 Hz (HF), and then continued treatment with the mode they felt most benefitted them. Ten patients were put on the waiting list for treatment but served as the untreated control group. The results were evaluated after 6 weeks and at 6 months for: activity related to pain; mobility; verbal descriptors of pain and the patient's subjective assessment of his condition. After 6 weeks, patients receiving treatment showed significant improvement (P < 0.05 to P < 0.001) on three of the four measures compared to the untreated controls. After 6 months a similar measure of significant improvement was seen in patients continuing with low-frequency (LF) acupuncture, but not in those groups continuing with manual stimulation (MS) or high-frequency (HF) acupuncture. The results suggest that 2 Hz electrical stimulation is the mode of choice when using acupuncture in t...Continue Reading


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