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randomised controlled trial (Acupuncture Randomised Trial in Low Back Pain).
blinded (patients who received acupuncture and minimal acupuncture).
Follow up period:
30 private practices and hospital outpatient units in Germany.
301 patients 40–75 years of age (mean age 59 y, 68% women) who had chronic low back pain for >6 months, mean pain intensity ⩾40 on a 100 mm visual analogue scale (VAS) in the previous 7 days, and used only oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the 4 weeks before treatment. Exclusion criteria were protrusion or prolapse of ⩾1 intervertebral disc and neurological symptoms; radicular pain; previous vertebral column surgery; infectious spondylopathy; …
For correspondence: Dr B Brinkhaus, Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Economics, Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany.
Source of funding: German Social Health Insurance Companies.