Acupuncture effective for lower back pain

Yuan J et al. Effectiveness of acupuncture for low back pain: a systematic review.
Spine 2008; 33(23): E887-900.

Systematic review and meta-analysis of 23 trials involving 6,359 patients, which looked at acupuncture in the treatment of low back pain. It found moderate evidence that acupuncture is more effective than no treatment and strong evidence that acupuncture is a useful supplement to other forms of conventional therapy. The reviewers concluded that acupuncture should be advocated for the treatment of chronic low back pain.

Acupuncture and dry-needling for lower back pain

Furlan AD et al. Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2005; (1): CD001351.

Systematic review and meta-analysis of 35 trials involving 2,861 patients, which assessed acupuncture for low back pain. The reviewers concluded that for chronic low back pain, acupuncture is more effective for pain relief and functional improvement than no treatment or sham treatment, and that acupuncture may be a useful adjunct to other therapies for chronic low back pain.

Electroacpuncture better than TENS

Wang ZX. [Clinical observation on electroacupuncture at acupoints for treatment of senile radical sciatica].
Zhongguo Zhenjiu 2009; 29(2): 126-8.

A randomised trial that compared therapeutic effects of electroacupuncture and TENS on radical sciatica in a total of 139 patients. At the end of the first course of treatment, the cure rate was greater (41.4%) in the electroacupuncture group than the TENS group (29.0%, p<0.05), and at the end of second course, was still greater (80.0% vs. 44.9%, p<0.005). The researchers concluded that the therapeutic effect of electroacupuncture on senile radical sciatica is significantly better than TENS.

Also see Back Pain.