Acupuncture is the most effective form of CAM (Complementary & Alternative Medicine) for Muscoskeletal Conditions - and one of only a few that is supported by current medical evidence, according to a report commissioned by the charity Arthritis Research UK. The report, which examined trial data on 25 therapies, was aimed at helping people with muscoskeletal conditions and healthcare professionals choose effective therapies by providing evidence about their safety and effectiveness. Very little evidence was found in support of commonly used therapies such as copper and magnetic therapy for any muscoskeletal disorder. The therapies that were shown to be the most effective were: acupuncture for osteoarthritis, low back pain and fibromyalgia; massage for fibromyalgia and low back pain; tai chi for osteoarthritis; and yoga for back pain.
Acupuncture is significantly superior to all controls for chronic pain
An analysis of data from the Acupuncture Trialist' Collaboration, exploring the impact of the choice of control condition on the effect of acupuncture, has shown that acupuncture is significantly superior to control, irrespective of the type of control used. (Control or sham acupuncture is when needles are deliberately placed away from acupuncture points, to provide a placebo group.)
Data came from a large individual patient meta-analysis of acupuncture trials involving patients with headache and migraine, osteoarthritis and back, neck and shoulder pain. Twenty nine trials met inclusion criteria, 20 involving sham controls (n=5230) and 18 non-sham controls (n=14597). Sham controls included non-needle sham, penetrating sham needles and non-penetrating sham needles. Non-sham controls consisted of non-specific routine care and protocol-guided care. The results showed that acupuncture was significantly superior to all categories of control group.
Influence of control group on effect size in trials of acupuncture for chronic pain 2014:ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24705624
For further information on acupuncture research, go to: http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/category/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions.html