England [UK], Jan.31 : Have you ever tripped over and hurt your knee and the pain, even after the wound heals, makes a comeback despite taking pain-killers? Then you are on the right page as a study has found that acupuncture treatment can boost the effectiveness of standard medical care, lessening the severity of chronic pain and depression.
In a report published in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Journals Library, the researchers showed that there is significant evidence to demonstrate that acupuncture provides more than a placebo effect.
Hugh MacPherson brought together the results of 29 high quality clinical trials focused on patients treated with acupuncture and standard medical care.
In the majority of these trials, patients with chronic pain treated with acupuncture and standard medical care were tested against those who were provided with standard medical care alone, such as anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy.
The trials involved approximately 18,000 patients diagnosed with chronic pain of the neck, lower back, head, and knee.
The report shows that the addition of acupuncture compared to standard medical care alone significantly reduced the number of headaches and migraine attacks and reduced the severity of neck and lower back pain.
It also showed that acupuncture reduced the pain and disability of osteoarthritis, which led to patients being less reliant on anti-inflammatory tablets to control pain.
MacPherson, from the University of York's Department of Health Sciences, England said, "There has been an increase in practitioners using acupuncture as an intervention.
Approximately four million acupuncture treatments are provided a year in the UK, but the evidence to show how clinically effective this form of treatment is has been limited." He added that there has been a question mark for many years over whether policy and decision makers should or should not provide wider access to acupuncture.
Our aim was to bring together data from high quality clinical trials and provide a robust evidence base that will help reduce this uncertainty and support commissioners and health professionals in making informed decisions backed up with research." The benefits of acupuncture are partially associated with placebo effects, which has contributed to the uncertainty around acupuncture's clinical effectiveness.