University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository

University of Lynchburg DMSc Doctoral Project Assignment Repository


Family Medicine


Dr. Elyse Watkins



Purpose: The article aims to review the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating low back pain (LBP) and explore specific acupuncture modalities that provide maximum relief of pain.

Methods: A literature search was conducted with PubMed with search terms acupuncture, low back pain, Chinese medicine, non-pharmacological pain treatment, and non-invasive treatments. Ninety-eight articles resulted. Inclusion criteria were articles within five years of the publication date and free articles. Fourteen articles remained, which were utilized as the foundational basis for this clinical review.

Results: Various research studies suggest improvements in low back pain after treatment with acupuncture. Manual and electroacupuncture have similar efficacy. Even greater efficacy was associated with the combination of manual acupuncture and moxibustion. Additional long-ranging studies are needed to determine the long-term benefits of acupuncture therapy.

Conclusion: Low back pain is a common complaint in the outpatient primary care setting and is often treated with pharmacological interventions. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine that utilizes small needles to puncture the skin surface at specific pressure points to balance energy flow within an individual’s body. This treatment modality involves minimal side effects, and there are limited contraindications. Although there are studies that demonstrate the positive effects of acupuncture for low back pain, additional research can help to determine its long-lasting benefits.

Keywords: Low back pain, Acupuncture, Non-invasive, Pain Management, Non-pharmacologic


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