Editorials

Acupressure for low back pain

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7543.680 (Published 23 March 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:680
  1. Helen Frost, research fellow (h.frost.1@warwick.ac.uk),
  2. Stewart-Brown Sarah, professor of public health (sarah.stewart-brown@warwick.ac.uk)
  1. Division of Health in the Community, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL

    Promising but not proved

    Disability associated with low back pain is an important public health problem. Clinical trials carried out in the Western world show conventional treatment to have, at best, modest effects,13 and international guidelines agree only on the need to advise patients to remain physically active and prescribe appropriate pain medication.4 Other treatments that are evidence based and recommended for chronic low back pain, such as exercise and cognitive behaviour therapy, depend on substantial commitment and lifestyle change. It is therefore not surprising that patients seek alternative and complementary medicine in their search for pain relief, and a paper from Taiwan by Hsieh and colleagues on p 696 reports a randomised controlled trial of one such therapy—acupressure.5

    In the United Kingdom, osteopathy and chiropractic are the types of complementary medicine most commonly sought by people with back pain,6 but therapies derived from the Chinese model of medicine are also popular. This model, which can …

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