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Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Advisor

Dr. Reid

Abstract

Acupuncture and other non-scientific modalities are sometimes utilized as an adjunct or alternative therapy for the treatment of chronic Low Back Pain (LBP) with no neurological deficits; especially because of its low incidence of adverse events. This is despite the fact that studies tend to indicate that there are no significant differences between acupuncture and a credible placebo. A closer look at these studies shows that trial subjects who believed they received real needling have reported significantly less pain than patients who believed they received a placebo -- which indicates that the observed analgesia arises from the placebo effect. The argument could also be made that the observed effects of acupuncture are due to artifacts such as the natural history of disease, or the regression towards the mean. If acupuncture‘s observed effects are attributable to the placebo effects or other inferential artifacts, then we are facing the ethical and legal questions of treating pain with innocuous means.

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