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Acupuncture more than a placebo for pain

In order to clarify whether acupuncture is more effective than placebo for pain relief, two British authors have combined evidence gathered from systematic reviews of high-quality RCTs that compared acupuncture with sham acupuncture for chronic pain conditions. Eight systematic reviews with meta-analyses of pooled data were included in their analysis. For short-term outcomes, acupuncture showed significant superiority over sham for back pain, knee pain and headache. For longer-term outcomes (6 to 12 months), acupuncture was significantly more effective for knee pain and tension-type headache, but inconsistent for back pain. In general, effect sizes were found to be relatively small. The authors conclude that the accumulating evidence suggests that acupuncture is more than a placebo for chronic pain conditions and suggest a shift in research priorities toward practical questions about its clinical relevance and cost-effectiveness. (Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Is Acupuncture More than an Effective Placebo? A Systematic Review of Pooled Data from Meta-analyses.

Pain Pract. 2010 Jan 8. 

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