Acupressure arthritis

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

After evaluating disability, pain scores, and functional status, researchers have discovered that patients with low back pain who receive therapy with the traditional Chinese method of manipulating pressure points experienced sustained benefit for six months.

They report that acupressure was more effective than physical therapy in reducing pain and improving function [Hsieh LL, Kuo CH, Lee LH, et al. Treatment of low back pain by acupressure and physical therapy: Randomized controlled trial. BMJ; online February 17, 2006].

The investigators recruited about 130 patients with chronic low back pain from a specialist orthopedic clinic in Taiwan. Patients completed a standard disability questionnaire before being randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups. About half of the patients received six sessions of acupressure and the other half received physical therapy. The researchers assessed the results immediately after treatment and again at six months.

They found that the mean disability score after therapy was significantly lower in the acupressure patients than in the physical-therapy group.

The team reports that acupressure led to an 89% reduction in disability compared with physical therapy after adjustment for pretreatment disability, and this improvement lasted for six months.

The researchers also observed statistically significant differences between the two groups for all six domains of the core outcome, pain visual scale, and modified Oswestry disability questionnaire.

The effectiveness of any manipulation therapy is highly dependent on the therapist's technique and experience.

The researchers conclude that their randomized controlled trial provides the basis for comparison across international studies.

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