Authors of a study in Japan looking at acupuncture for spinal stenosis of the lumbar region, have concluded that it is more effective than either medication or physical exercise. A total of 109 patients with L5 root radiculopathy associated with lumbar spinal stenosis, visiting Iwai Orthopaedic Medical Hospital for surgical treatment, were assigned to receive either paracetamol (900mg three times a day), exercise therapy, or acupuncture (five sessions) over a period of four weeks. All groups were permitted to use additional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as required for pain control.
Symptom severity scores improved significantly in all three groups, but physical function scores improved only in the acupuncture group. Treatment satisfaction was significantly greater for the acupuncture group compared with the medication group.
(A comparative study of three conservative treatments in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis: lumbar spinal stenosis with acupuncture & physical therapy study (LAP study). BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 19 January 2018.)