Acupuncture is more effective at treating back pain than conventional therapies, research suggests.
A German study found almost half the patients treated with acupuncture needles felt pain relief that lasted for months.
In contrast, only about a quarter who received drugs and other Western therapies felt better.
The Archives of Internal Medicine study also found fake acupuncture to work nearly as well as the real thing. The researchers, from the Ruhr University Bochum, say their findings suggest that the body may react positively to any thin needle prick - or that acupuncture may simply trigger a placebo effect.
One theory is that pain messages to the brain can be blocked by competing stimuli.
Researcher Dr Heinz Endres said: "Acupuncture represents a highly promising and effective treatment option for chronic back pain.
"Patients experienced not only reduced pain intensity, but also reported improvements in the disability that often results from back pain and therefore in their quality of life."
Source - BBC