Researchers in Canada have found that patients receiving acupuncture for lower back pain, are less likely subsequently to re-visit their GP for the problem, thus saving on healthcare costs.
The study examined 201 cases in which lower back pain was treated with acupuncture, and compared these with 804 controls, all drawn from acupuncture clinic and physician’s patient records in Alberta. Comparing the one year period pre-acupuncture with the one year post-acupuncture, physician visits by patients in the acupuncture group, decreased by 49%, whereas in the comparison group, the equivalent figure was only 2%. This flowed through into healthcare cost reductions of 37% for the acupuncture group, and 1% for the comparison group.
(Reduced Health Resource Use after Acupuncture for Low-Back Pain. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, Nov 2011.)