An Assessment of Acupuncture’s Effectiveness Essay Example
An Assessment of Acupuncture’s Effectiveness Essay Example

An Assessment of Acupuncture’s Effectiveness Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (1070 words)
  • Published: May 5, 2017
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In the study "Meta-Analysis: Acupuncture for Low Back Pain," Eric Manheimer, Adrian White, Biran Berman, Kelly Forys, and Edzard Ernst aimed to evaluate how effective acupuncture is in treating low back pain. The objective was to summarize findings from various published studies on acupuncture specifically for this condition. Data were collected until August 2004 from databases like MEDLINE, Cochrane Central, EMBASE, AHMED, CINAHL, CISCOM, and GERA. This data collection also included previous reviews and personal communication with colleagues (Manheimer, 2005). The gathered data were then analyzed and evaluated based on levels of pain relief achieved through acupuncture treatment, improvement in functional status experienced by patients after receiving acupuncture therapy, overall enhancement observed in their condition post-treatment process completion including return to work rate assessment along with evaluation of analgesic consumption (Manheimer, 2005



Researchers analyzed 33 randomized, controlled trials and discovered that acupuncture is more effective than sham or no treatment for individuals with chronic low back pain. However, there is no evidence indicating that acupuncture surpasses other active therapies. In a study titled "Acupuncture for Chronic Headache in Primary Care: Large, Pragmatic, Randomized Trial," Andrew J. Vickers, Rebecca W. Reese, Catherine E. Zollman and their team examined the impact of acupuncture on patients with chronic headache compared to those who did not receive acupuncture.

The study was conducted in England and Wales and involved 401 patients with chronic headache, specifically migraine. These individuals were randomly assigned to receive up to 12 acupuncture treatments over a three-month period. The primary outcomes examined included the score of their headaches, their SF-36 health status, and their use of medication. These measures were assessed at the beginning of the

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study, after three months, and after twelve months. Resource utilization was also evaluated every three months (Vickers et al., 2004).

After twelve months, it was discovered that the group receiving acupuncture had a lower headache score (16.2, SD 13.7, n=161), which represented a reduction of 43% from the baseline. In contrast, the control group had a higher headache score (22.3, SD 17.0) with only a 16% reduction from baseline (n = 140).

The mean difference, which has been adjusted to 4.6 with a confidence interval of 2.2 to 7.0 and a p-value of 0.0002, indicates statistical significance. This finding remains consistent even after considering missing data through sensitivity analysis that includes imputation.
In terms of headache frequency, patients who received acupuncture had an average of 22 headache days per year (ranging from 8 to 38). The results from the SF-36 survey indicate that acupuncture positively affected physical role functioning, energy levels, and overall health improvements; however, other differences were not statistically significant.

A study conducted by Jorge Vas, Camilla Mendez, Emilio Perea - Milla, et. al., titled "Acupuncture As A Complementary Therapy to the Pharmacological Treatment of Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Randomized Controlled Trial," found that acupuncture was effective as a complementary therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee. The study evaluated pain relief, reduction of stiffness, increased physical function during treatment, changes in diclofenac consumption, and patients' quality of life. The trial was randomized, controlled, single-blind with blinded evaluation and statistical analysis of results (Vas et. al., 2004).

Another study discovered that acupuncture reduced medication usage by 15% compared to controls (P=0.02), resulted in 25% fewer visits to general practitioners (P=0.10), and decreased sick days by 15% (P=0.2). The

researchers concluded that acupuncture provides long-lasting clinically relevant benefits for individuals with chronic headaches, especially migraines. They also recommended expanding acupuncture services within the NHS (National Health Service).

The study conducted in southern Spain included 97 outpatients with knee osteoarthritis who were split into two groups. One group (n=48) received acupuncture and diclofenac, while the other group (n=49) received placebo acupuncture and diclofenac. According to Vas et al., a total of 88 patients completed the trial. The analysis indicated that the intervention group showed a greater reduction in the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities index compared to the control group, with an average difference of 23.9% and a confidence interval ranging from 15.0% to 32.8%. This decrease was particularly notable in the functional activity subscale.

In a study conducted by Vas (2004), it was discovered that combining acupuncture treatment with diclofenac is more effective in treating knee osteoarthritis compared to placebo acupuncture with diclofenac. The study observed a decrease of 26.6 (18.5 to 35.8) in the pain visual analog scale and significant improvements in physical capability (P=0.021) and psychological functioning (P=0.046) based on PQLC results.

Another study, performed by Dominik Irnich, Nicolas Behrens, Holger Molzen,, aimed to compare the effectiveness of acupuncture and conventional massage for chronic neck pain treatment. This prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial involved 177 patients aged 18-85 years with chronic neck pain who were randomly assigned to receive five treatments over three weeks using either acupuncture (56), massage (60), or "sham" laser acupuncture (61).

According to Irnich and colleagues, the main measure of the study was the maximum pain related to motion after one week of treatment. Secondary measures included range of motion, pain

in six directions, pressure pain threshold, changes in spontaneous pain, motion related to pain, global complaints, and quality of life. Assessments were done before, during, and one week and three months after treatment. The patients' beliefs in treatment were also evaluated. The results indicated that the acupuncture group had a significantly better improvement in motion-related pain compared to massage after five treatments, but not compared to sham laser.

According to the researchers (Irnich,, 2001), differences observed in the effectiveness of acupuncture compared to massage or sham laser were more pronounced in patients who had been experiencing pain for longer than five years and in those with myofascial pain syndrome. Additionally, the acupuncture group displayed the most favorable outcomes in secondary measures, while patients' belief in treatment did not vary. Out of the four articles analyzed, I consider "Acupuncture for Chronic Headache in Primary Care: Large, Pragmatic, Randomized Trial" by Andrew J. Vickers, Rebecca W. Reese, Catherine E. to provide the most valid results.

Zollman,'s research had the largest sampling population and the results were measured against various variables at baseline, three, and 12 months intervals. The use of resources was also assessed every three months, making the monitoring of the research highly sufficient and effective. In contrast, the research conducted by Eric Manheimer, Adrian White, Biran Berman, Kelly Forys, and Edzard Ernst titled "Meta-Analysis: Acupuncture for Low Back Pain" is considered the weakest in terms of result validity. This is because the data was obtained through multiple databases, previous reviews, and personal contacts with colleagues.

No actual experimentation was conducted, resulting in inconclusive scientific data sourcing and interpretation.

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