Article

A comparison between pulsed radiofrequency and electro-acupuncture for relieving pain in patients with chronic low back pain.

Institute of BioMedical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taiwan.
Acupuncture & electro-therapeutics research (Impact Factor: 0.4). 01/2010; 35(3-4):133-46. DOI: 10.3727/036012910803860940
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Many treatment options for chronic low back pain are available, including varied forms of electric stimulation. But little is known about the electricity effect between electro-acupuncture and pulsed radiofrequency. The objective of this study is to assess the difference in effectiveness of pain relief between pulsed radiofrequency and electro-acupuncture. Visual analog score (VAS) pain score, the Oswestry disability index (ODI) to measure a patient's permanent functional disability, and Short form 36 (SF-36) which is a survey used in health assessment to determine the cost-effectiveness of a health treatment, were used as rating systems to measure the pain relief and functional improvement effect of pulsed radiofrequency and electro-acupuncture, based on the methodological quality of the randomized controlled trials, the relevance between the study groups, and the consistency of the outcome evaluation. First, the baseline status before therapy shows no age and gender influence in the SF-36 and VAS score but it is significant in the ODI questionnaire. From ANOVA analyses, it is apparent that radiofrequency therapy is a significant improvement over electro-acupuncture therapy after one month. But electro-acupuncture also showed functional improvement in the lumbar spine from the ODI. This study provides sufficient evidence of the superiority of pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) therapy for low back pain relief compared with both electro-acupuncture (EA) therapy and the control group. But the functional improvement of the lumbar spine was proved under EA therapy only. Both therapies are related to electricity effects.

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Available from: Chii-Wann Lin, May 30, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Study Design. A systematic review (SR) and meta-analysis (MA) of randomised controlled trials (RCTs).Objective. To evaluate the totality of evidence in relation to the effectiveness of acupuncture for non-specific chronic low back pain (NSCLBP).Summary of Background Data. Acupuncture has become a popular alternative for treating clinical symptoms of NSCLBP. A number of RCTs have examined the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of NSCLBP.Methods. A systematic literature search was completed without date or language restrictions up to May 2012. Studies included in the review were RCTs that examined all forms of acupuncture that adhered to the Traditional Acupuncture Theory for treating NSCLBP. Outcome measures included impairment, activity limitation and participation restriction. The methodological quality of the studies was examined using the Cochrane risk of bias tool.Results. Thirty-two studies were included in the SR, of which twenty-five studies presented relevant data for the MA. Acupuncture had a clinically meaningful reduction in levels of self-reported pain [MD = -16.76 (95% CI -33.33, -0.19), p = 0.05, I = 90%] when compared to sham, and improved function [SMD = -0.94 (95% CI -1.41, -0.47), p<0.00, I = 78%] when compared to no treatment immediately post-intervention. Levels of function also clinically improved when acupuncture in-addition to usual-care, or electro-acupuncture was compared to usual-care alone. When acupuncture was compared to medications (NSAIDS, muscle relaxants and analgesics) and usual-care, there were statistically significant differences between the control and the intervention groups but these differences were too small to be of any clinical significance. There was no evidence in support of acupuncture over transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.Conclusion. This SR demonstrates that acupuncture may have a favourable effect on self-reported pain and functional limitations on NSCLBP. However, the results should be interpreted in the context of the limitations identified, particularly in relation to the heterogeneity in the study characteristics and the low methodological quality in many of the included studies.
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