A 2016 study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine tested the efficacy of using acupuncture and exercise to address acute lumbar sprain. The study showed the treatment reduced pain due to this common athletic injury. The clinical study is called "Acupuncture-Movement Therapy for Acute Lumbar Sprain: a Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial."
Researchers randomly placed participants into 4 groups of 15 members each. The first acupuncture movement group (AM) received acupuncture plus movement exercises. The second group received sham acupuncture plus movement exercises--the sham acupuncture-movement group (SAM).
The third group received acupuncture without the movement exercises. They are known as the conventional acupuncture group, abbreviated as CA. The fourth group underwent physical therapy treatment without any acupuncture--called the PT group.
Patients assessed their lumbar pain before and after all their treatments. To evaluate each patient's level of pain, tools such as the Rolland-Morris questionnaire (RMQ), and the visual analog scale (VAS) were used. When compared with the other 3 groups, the AM participants reported statistically significant lower RMQ scores post-treatment.
The AM group felt a decrease in lumbar pain immediately after treatment. The researchers also noted that these positive results continued to be felt when the patients were questioned 24 hours later.
At the end of the trial, researchers concluded that acupuncture, when combined with movement therapy, is a remarkable and effective way to significantly reduce pain associated with acute lumbar sprain. Additionally, the analgesic effect persists at least 24 hours after care is given.
Ruizhu, L., Ning, Z., Jian, L., Xinjian, L., Yue, W., Jie, Z., & Chaolei, X. (2016). Acupuncture-movement therapy for acute lumbar sprain: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 36(1), 19-25. doi:10.1016/s0254-6272(16)30003-6
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About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.