Acupuncture improves lower back pain recovery from a car accident

Background: Traffic injuries include acute low back pain (LBP) needing active treatment to prevent chronicity. This two-armed, parallel, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled trial evaluated the effectiveness and safety of progressive loading-motion style acupuncture treatment (PL-MSAT) for acute low back pain following traffic accidents.

Methods: Based on an effect size of 1.03, 104 participants were recruited and divided in a 1:1 ratio into PL-MAST and control groups using block randomization. Both groups underwent integrative Korean medicine treatment (IKMT) daily; only the PL-MSAT group underwent three PL-MSAT sessions. The outcomes were assessed before and after the treatment sessions and at 1 and 3 months post-discharge. The primary outcome was the difference in the numeric rating scale (NRS) for low back pain. The secondary outcomes included a visual analog scale for low back pain, leg pain status, the Oswestry disability index, lumbar active range of motion (ROM), quality of life, Patient Global Impression of Change, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist adverse events.

Results: In the modified intention-to-treat analysis, 50 and 51 participants were included in the PL-MSAT and control groups. On Day 4, the mean low back pain NRS score was 3.67 (3.44-3.90) in the PL-MSAT group, indicating a significantly lower NRS 0.77 (0.44-1.11) compared to 4.44 (4.20-4.68) for the control group (p < 0.001). The PL-MSAT group exhibited greater ROM flexion (-5.31; -8.15 to -2.48) and extension (-2.09; -3.39 to -0.80). No significant differences were found for the secondary outcomes and follow-ups.

Conclusions: Compared with IKMT alone, PL-MSAT plus IKMT showed significantly better outcomes for reducing pain and increasing the range of motion in acute low back pain.


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About Attilio

Doctor of Chinese medicine, acupuncture expert and author of My Fertility Guide and My Pregnancy Guide.

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