Review: limited evidence suggests that acupuncture is more effective than no treatment for chronic pain
QUESTION: Is acupuncture effective for the treatment of chronic pain?
Studies were identified by searching Medline (1966–99), the Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field trials registry, and the University of Maryland Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Pain (CAMPAIN) databases using the terms acupuncture; alternative medicine; electroacupuncture; moxibustion; injections, intramuscular; medicine, traditional chinese; trigger point therapy; and auriculotherapy. Conference proceedings and bibliographies of relevant articles were also searched.
English language randomised trials were selected if they included patients who had had pain for >3 months, used needles rather than surface electrodes, and had a measurement for pain relief.
Data were extracted on acupuncture and control method, study and patient characteristics, methodological quality (low quality was defined as a score <3 on a 5 point scale; high quality was defined as a score ≥3), and outcomes.
51 studies (2423 patients with …