Suffering with an aching back, or even morning sickness? Don’t be surprised if your GP suggests acupuncture. More than half of British doctors have prescribed it, according to one survey, and the NHS spends about £25 million on it.
Acupuncture is based on the ancient belief that inserting needles into the body restores energy balance, while Western practitioners say the needles trigger production of pain-killing chemicals. Sceptics, however, say much of the supposed benefit is down to a placebo effect. Here we take look at the conditions where this alternative treatment shows most promise...
BACK PAIN -THE EVIDENCE The evidence for acupuncture relieving back pain has been so compelling that the government health watchdog NICE now recommends it. In some areas, this is provided by the NHS.
A major review of 29 studies last year by Andrew Vickers, an epidemiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, found acupuncture had a clear and ‘robust’ effect on chronic back pain.-EXPERT COMMENT ‘Most of the evidence that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence uses is for lower back pain, but acupuncture can be useful for neck and shoulder pain too,’ says Dr Tom Margham, a GP and spokesman for the charity Arthritis Research UK. ‘Just as with any other treatment, some people have a better response than others. Many physiotherapists use it as part of a suite of treatments, alongside exercises.’
Source - Daily Mail