Acupuncture has relatively good evidence in the literature for treatment of chronic nonspecific low back pain. Several studies show that it can work better than ususal care which includes medications or physical therapy. Interestingly, randomized controlled trials did not show acupuncture to be superior to a sham acupuncture procedure. Acupuncture treatments usually consist of weekly visits, and it may take up to 5 session before noticing a benefit. Because of the out-of-pocket expense, acupuncture is often not the first line of treatment for low back pain. Patients I treat have usually failed all other treatments. Despite this, I am still able to get some results in this difficult population. Due to its good safety profile and minimally invasive nature, I think acupuncture is a good option for anyone that wants to try a more alternative approach to low back pain.
By: Chi- Tsai Tang, MD
Read more about Dr. Tang at: http://ortho.wustl.edu/content/Patient-Care/2717/FIND-A-PHYSICIAN/Listing-of-Faculty/Chi-Tsai-Tang-MD/Bio.aspx