Article Text


Relief of low back pain immediately after acupuncture treatment – a randomised, placebo controlled trial
  1. Motohiro Inoue, licensed acupuncturist,
  2. Hiroshi Kitakoji, licensed acupuncturist,
  3. Naoto Ishizaki, licensed acupuncturist,
  4. Munenori Tawa, licensed acupuncturist,
  5. Tadashi Yano, licensed acupuncturist,
  6. Yasukazu Katsumi, orthopaedic surgeon,
  7. Kenji Kawakita, professor
  1. Department of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion II, Department of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion IDepartment of Health Promoting Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Department of Orthopaedics, Third Department of Physiology, Meiji University of Oriental Medicine Japan
  1. mo_inoue{at}


Background The purpose of this study was to examine the immediate effect of single acupuncture stimulation to the most painful point in patients with low back pain.

Method A randomised, evaluator-blinded, sham controlled clinical trial was conducted in which 31 patients with low back pain were randomly allocated to either an acupuncture group (n=15) or a sham acupuncture group (n=16). Both acupuncture and sham acupuncture were performed at the most painful point on the lower back of the subjects. For the acupuncture group, a stainless steel needle was inserted to a depth of 20mm and manually stimulated (sparrow pecking method) for 20 seconds, while for the sham treatment a guide tube without a needle was placed at the point and tapped on the skin. Changes in low back pain were evaluated with a visual analogue scale (VAS) and the Schober test. Participants were also asked if they felt the needling sensation or not. The therapy and the evaluation were independently performed by two different acupuncturists. Results VAS score and the Schober test score showed significant improvement after treatment as compared with the sham group (P=0.02, 0.001, respectively). There were no significant differences in the needling sensation between the acupuncture and sham group.

Conclusion These results suggest that acupuncture at the most painful point gives immediate relief of low back pain.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.