Research: MACPHERSON and others,

Listed in Issue 112


MACPHERSON and others, Foundation for Traditional Chinese Medicine, York YO10 5DD, UK,, have carried out a clinical trial of acupuncture for low back pain.


The aim of the study was to assess patterns of diagnosis and treatment with traditional Chinese acupuncture of patients presenting with back pain.


148 patients with low back pain of between 4 weeks and 12 months duration were offered individualized acupuncture and given up to 10 treatments. A subgroup of patients were re-examined by another practitioner who was blind to the original diagnosis.


The most commonly diagnosed symptom was Qi and Blood stagnation (88% of patients), followed by Kidney Deficiency (53%) and Bi Syndrome (28%), with more than one syndrome being diagnosed in 65% of patients. Practitioner concordance was reasonable. Most commonly treated channels were Bladder and Gall Bladder, and the points most frequently treated were BL-23 and the two lowest Huatuojiaji points.


Diagnostic concordance of traditional Chinese acupuncturists was reasonable, and clear themes emerged for treatment of low back pain.


MacPherson H, Thorpe L, Thomas K, Campbell M. Acupuncture for low back pain: traditional diagnosis and treatment of 148 patients in a clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 12 (1): 38-44, Mar 2004.

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