American researchers studying acupuncture for back pain in the emergency department, say it shows promise as an alternative to pharmacological intervention. They studied 52 adults presenting at Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas with back pain as their primary problem. At the discretion of their responsible clinician, patients were given either acupuncture (in a style known as battlefield acupuncture), or standard drug therapy as a control.
The acupuncture group exhibited a mean decrease of 33 in their visual analogue pain score, versus 21 for the drug group. At 48 to 72 hours after treatment, the acupuncture group showed a median improvement in back pain functional score of 12, versus 8 for the drug group.
(Battlefield Acupuncture Versus Standard Pharmacologic Treatment of Low Back Pain in the Emergency Department: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Emergency Medicine, October 2021.)