In what may be the most significant research to emerge in the last five years, an international collaboration, involving some of the UK’s top acupuncture researchers, has provided definitive evidence that acupuncture is effective for chronic pain. The authors analysed raw individual patient data – an approach that allows for statistically precise results – for 17,922 participants enrolled in 29 high-quality, randomised trials of acupuncture for chronic back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, shoulder pain and chronic headache. The study, published in the prestigious Archives of Internal Medicine on September 10th, showed that for each of the four conditions, the analgesic effect of true acupuncture was slightly better than that of placebo acupuncture. However, the difference between true acupuncture and usual care alone was found to be much larger and of clinical significance. The authors hope their findings will encourage clinicians to recommend acupuncture as a safe and effective treatment and inform future clinical and policy decisions. (From www.jcm.co.uk)
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