Research: HSIEH and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 137


HSIEH and colleagues, Institute of Preventive Medicine, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, present the treatment of chronic low back pain by acupressure.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of acupressure for low back pain in terms of disability, pain scores, and functional status.


In this randomized controlled trial, 129 patients with chronic low back pain were randomized to receive acupressure or physical therapy for one month. Self administered Chinese versions of standard outcome measures for low back pain (primary outcome: Roland and Morris disability questionnaire) at baseline, after treatment, and at six month follow-up were used.


The mean total disability score after treatment was significantly lower in the acupressure group than in the physical therapy group regardless of the difference in absolute score or mean change from the baseline. Acupressure conferred an 89% reduction in significant disability compared with physical therapy. The improvement in disability score in the acupressure group compared with the physical group remained at six month follow-up. Statistically significant differences also occurred between the two groups for all six domains of the core outcome, pain VAS, and modified Oswestry disability questionnaire after treatment and at six month follow-up.


Acupressure was effective in reducing low back pain in terms of disability, pain scores, and functional status. The benefit was sustained for six months.


Hsieh LL, Kuo CH, Lee LH, Yen AM, Chien KL, Chen TH. Treatment of low back pain by acupressure and physical therapy: randomised controlled trial.  British Medical Journal 332 (7543): 696-700, Mar 25, 2006.

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