Researchers at the University of Westminster have shown that adding acupuncture to a self-care regime for lower back pain, can prove particularly helpful. Eighty chronic back pain patients, mean age 47, agreed to take part in a pilot service based in a primary and community care setting. Patients were referred by GPs, and by NHS physiotherapists and osteopaths. The service offered self-care advice, acupuncture, and information. Patients opting for acupuncture received up to six acupuncture sessions, on a weekly basis.
The results showed that service users experienced statistically significant improvements in pain, understanding of pain, quality of life, physical activity and relaxation. All of these improvements, with the exception of relaxation levels, were maintained at follow-up three months later. Patient satisfaction with the service was high, and particularly positive results were shown by those patients who had opted to include acupuncture within their care package.
(Patient outcomes and experiences of an acupuncture and self-care service for persistent low back pain in the NHS: a mixed methods approach. BMC Compl & Alter Medicine, November 2013.)