Chinese Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain: An International Expert Survey

Molsberger, Albrecht F.; Zhou, Jianhong; Arndt, Dirk; Teske, Wolfgang
November 2008
Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine;Nov2008, Vol. 14 Issue 9, p1089
Academic Journal
Background: Chinese acupuncture is widely accepted in western countries, and a number of clinical trials are testing Chinese acupuncture, especially for chronic low back pain (cLBP). However, little is known about how practitioners perform acupuncture treatment in daily clinical work and whether treatment styles differ among practitioners and countries. Objective: To investigate whether styles of Chinese acupuncture treatment for cLBP are heterogeneous among different practitioners and countries. Methodology: Literature review, a prospective survey of international experts using a questionnaire with open and closed questions, and personal interviews. Results: Data were collected from 18 experts in 10 different countries. The typical treatment regimen for cLBP, based on a composite of experts' responses, consisted of 11 sessions lasting 25 minutes each, held twice weekly. The typical practitioner inserted 12 needles, would select individual points according to channels and syndromes, and would identify syndromes such as kidney deficiency ( yin and yang), cold dampness, and qi and blood stagnation. Preferred points were BL 23, BL 40, GB 34, BL 54, BL 60, BL 54, and Huatuo, although there was a high variation in additional local and distal points. Generally speaking, no expert would administer fewer than 6 treatments, omit Ahshi points, restrict needle insertion to 1 cm or less, or adhere solely to fixed points for all patients. Conclusions: For the first time it has been shown that there is a broad consistency in fundamental aspects of Chinese acupuncture for cLBP across different kinds of practitioners and different countries. These data can be used as minimal standards for the design and funding of future clinical trials.


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