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Acupuncture for Back Pain? By Mrs Vera West

     Having arthritis in my lower back, like so many oldish folk, each morning I have been lathering up my back with copious amounts of the common pain killer, diclofenac, which I have just found out, could kill me:

“A COMMON painkiller prescribed to millions of people could increase the risk of heart attack or stroke by 50 per cent, experts have warned. Diclofenac - marketed under the brand name Voltarol or Voltaren in the US - can cause heart failure and irregular heartbeats, new findings show. The drug was recently withdrawn from being sold over the counter in the UK - over fears about serious side effects. It's widely used to treat a range of painful conditions, typically back pain, headaches and arthritis. Since January 2015, it has only been available in the UK with a prescription, but it can still be bought over the counter in most other countries, including the US and parts of Europe.”

     I am sorry to tell back pain sufferers this bad news. Still, acupuncture is said to be good for back pain, so my new year’s resolution (remember them?) will be to try out this and see if I can get a good night’s sleep for once. Imagine turning painfully in bed, desperately tired, and seeking the one spot where pain does not live.

“Chinese researchers found that acupuncture treatment could relieve the severe pain experienced by patients with lumbar disk herniation. They further reported that the pain-relieving effect of the healing art could match the analgesic effect of pharmaceutical drugs. This systematic review received support from Jinan University. Its findings were published in the science journal Acupuncture in Medicine.

•    Thirty randomized controlled trials were drawn from various electronic databases. The trials covered acupuncture-based treatment of lumbar disk herniation and involved a total of 3,503 participants.
•    The outcome of each trial underwent meta-analysis. Furthermore, the evidence presented by the trail was evaluated using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology.
•    In the meta-analysis, acupuncture demonstrated better total effective rate than the practice of lumbar traction. It similarly outperformed ibuprofen, diclofenac sodium, and meloxicam, which are all pharmaceutical painkiller drugs.
•    In the visual analogue scale (VAS) test that measures the intensity of frequency of symptoms like pain, acupuncture bested lumbar traction and diclofenac sodium. In trials that used the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) methodology, the healing art did much better than lumbar traction.
•    In five separate tests acupuncture was shown to have higher rates of total effectiveness than ibuprofen plus fugui gutong capsule, huoxue zhitong decoction, loxoprofen, mannitol plus dexamethasone, mannitol plus dexamethasone and mecobalamin. Two more trials – one with ibuprofen and the other one involving mannitol plus dexamethasone – showed that acupuncture had the higher VAS scores.”

     I am simply going to have to get over my fear of needles.



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Friday, 05 June 2020
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