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Multicentre randomised controlled clinical trial of electroacupuncture with usual care for patients with non-acute pain after back surgery


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness and safety between electroacupuncture (EA) combined with usual care (UC) and UC alone for pain reduction and functional improvement in patients with non-acute low back pain (LBP) after back surgery.

In this multicentre, randomised, assessor-blinded active-controlled trial, 108 participants were equally randomised to either the EA with UC or the UC alone. Participants in the EA with UC group received EA treatment and UC treatment twice a week for 4 weeks; those allocated to the UC group received only UC. The primary outcome was the VAS pain intensity score. The secondary outcomes were functional improvement (Oswestry Disability Index [ODI]) and the quality of life (EuroQol-5-dimension questionnaire [EQ-5D]). The outcomes were measured at Week 5.

Significant reductions were observed in the VAS (mean difference [MD] -8.15; P=0.0311) and ODI scores (MD -3.98; P=0.0460) between two groups after 4 weeks of treatment. No meaningful differences were found in the EQ-5D scores and incidence of adverse events (AEs) between the groups. The reported AEs did not have a causal relationship with EA treatment.

The results showed that EA with UC treatment was more effective than UC alone and relatively safe in patients with non-acute LBP after back surgery. EA with UC treatment may be considered as an effective, integrated, conservative treatment for patients with non-acute LBP after back surgery.

Heo I, Shin BC, Cho JH, Ha IH, Hwang EH, Lee JH, Kim KW, Kim MR, Jung SY, Kwon O, Kim NK, Son DW, Shin KM.

Br J Anaesth. 2021 Mar;126(3):692-699. doi: 10.1016/j.bja.2020.10.038. Epub 2020 Dec 16. PMID: 33341226.

Link: https://bjanaesthesia.org/article/S0007-0912(20)30926-0/fulltext

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