Back Pain And Sciatica

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About low back pain and sciatica

Low back pain can happen when patients lift, reach something, or twist their back, they will feel hurt in that area. According to the WHO, low back pain is a very common health problem worldwide and a major cause of disability – affecting performance at work and general well-being. There are some common causes such as strains, aging, a herniated disc, an inflammation of a joint, compression fracture of the spine, or a spinal problem you were born with.

Most low back pain goes away within several weeks. Many people who recover have back pain again within a year, and most people will have it again sometime during their lives. This is called a long-lasting low back pain. Acupuncture treatment is found effective on low back pain patients.

Sciatica is characterized by a pain going down the leg, usually on one side, from the lower back. This kind of pain may be caused when the large nerve, which extends from the lower back down to the back of each leg, is injured. Another cause is when the discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae, begin to bulge and gradually push on the large nerve. Symptoms may include pain on one side of the body, with or without low back pain, hip pain, burning or tingling down the leg, weakness or difficulty moving the leg or foot.

 

How can acupuncture help?

There have been a variety of clinical trials researching the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy on low back pain patients.

In a recent review from several clinical studies by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, acupuncture therapy for long-lasting low back pain has been found effective in reducing pain and improving patients’ standard of living.

Multiple research findings have shown that the effectiveness of acupuncture on the short-term low back pain patients is higher than some types of analgesics or pain-killers like aspirin.

With respect to the cost, two studies have shown that acupuncture for both short-term and long-lasting low back pain was more cost-effective than other treatments.

Acupuncture was proven to be twice as effective as the standard care for sciatica.

Acupuncture therapy is the second choice for treatment of sciatica among 21 different therapies. More than that, acupuncture was clearly superior to both exercise therapy and radio frequency treatment.

 

Sources:

  1. Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd. Fact sheet: acupuncture for Low Back Pain and Sciatica; 2016.
  2. McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review.: Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd,; 2016.
  3. World Health Organization. Chapter 6: Priority diseases and reasons for inclusion Priority Medicines for Europe and the World Update Report. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2013.
  4. Lam M, Galvin R, Curry P. Effectiveness of acupuncture for nonspecific chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Spine. 2013 Nov 15;38(24):2124-38.
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  8. Andronis L, Kinghorn P, Qiao S, Whitehurst DG, Durrell S, McLeod H. Cost-Effectiveness of Non-Invasive and Non-Pharmacological Interventions for Low Back Pain: a Systematic Literature Review. Applied health economics and health policy. 2016 Aug 22.
  9. Taylor P, Pezzullo L, Grant SJ, Bensoussan A. Cost-effectiveness of Acupuncture for Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain. Pain practice : the official journal of World Institute of Pain. 2014 Sep;14(7):599-606.
  10. Chou R, Deyo R, Friedly J, Skelly A, Hashimoto R, Weimer M, et al. AHRQ Comparative Effectiveness Reviews.  Noninvasive Treatments for Low Back Pain. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2016.
  11. Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network. Management of Chronic Pain (SIGN publication no. 136). Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN); 2013.
  12. Schug SA, Palmer GM, Scott DA, Halliwell R, Trinca J. Acute pain management: scientific evidence, fourth edition, 2015. The Medical journal of Australia. 2016 May 2;204(8):315-7.
  13. Lewis R WN, Matar HE, et al. The Clinical Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Management Strategies for Sciatica: Systematic Review and Economic Model. Health Technology Assessment, No 1539. Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; 2011.
  14. Lewis RA, Williams NH, Sutton AJ, Burton K, Din NU, Matar HE, et al. Comparative clinical effectiveness of management strategies for sciatica: systematic review and network metaanalyses. The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society. 2015 Jun 1;15(6):1461-77.
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