PainSci summary of Hsieh 2004?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★★★5-star ratings are for sentinel studies, excellent experiments with meaningful results. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.
This is a 2004 Taiwanese test comparing “acupressure” — acupuncture with pressure instead of needles — to physical therapy for back pain. It was randomized and controlled and involved 146 subjects (that’s a good number). The acupressure group had less pain than the physical therapy group in the short and medium term. How much less? At one month, a pain score of 2.3 versus 5; after six months, 1.1 versus 3.1.
The researchers concluded that “acupressure is another effective alternative medicine in reducing low back pain.” The same research group reproduced similar evidence in 2006 and published in the British Medical Journal: see Hsieh. It’s all quite promising, isn it? But there are complex caveats here: see also the BMJ commentary Frost.
original abstract†Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
BACKGROUND: Although acupressure has been reported to be effective in managing various types of pain, its efficacy in relieving pain associated with low back pain (LBP) remains unclear. The aim of this study is to compare the efficacy of acupressure with that of physical therapy in reducing low back pain.
METHODS: A randomized controlled clinical trial in an orthopedic referral hospital in Taiwan was conducted between December 20, 2000, and March 2, 2001. A total of 146 participants with chronic low back pain were randomly assigned to the acupressure group (69) or the physical therapy group (77), each with a different treatment technique. Self-appraised pain scores were obtained before treatment as baseline and after treatment as outcomes using the Chinese version of Short-Form Pain Questionnaire (SF-PQ).
RESULTS: There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics among patients randomized into the two groups. The mean of posttreatment pain score after a 4-week treatment (2.28, SD = 2.62) in the acupressure group was significantly lower than that in the physical therapy group (5.05, SD = 5.11) (P = 0.0002). At the 6-month follow-up assessment, the mean of pain score in the acupressure group (1.08, SD = 1.43) was still significantly lower than that in the physical therapy group (3.15, SD = 3.62) (P = 0.0004).
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that acupressure is another effective alternative medicine in reducing low back pain, although the standard operating procedures involved with acupressure treatment should be carefully assessed in the future.
- “Treatment of low back pain by acupressure and physical therapy: randomised controlled trial,” Lisa Li-Chen Hsieh, Chung-Hung Kuo, Liang Huei Lee, Amy Ming-Fang Yen, Kuo-Liong Chien, and Tony Hsiu-Hsi Chen, British Medical Journal, 2006.
- “Acupressure for low back pain,” Helen Frost and Sarah Stewart-Brown, British Medical Journal, 2006.
One article on PainScience.com cites Hsieh 2004 as a source:
- PS Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain Syndrome — A guide to the unfinished science of muscle pain, with reviews of every theory and self-treatment and therapy option
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Effectiveness of customised foot orthoses for Achilles tendinopathy: a randomised controlled trial. Munteanu 2015 Br J Sports Med.
- A Bayesian model-averaged meta-analysis of the power pose effect with informed and default priors: the case of felt power. Gronau 2017 Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology.
- The neck and headaches. Bogduk 2014 Neurol Clin.
- Agreement of self-reported items and clinically assessed nerve root involvement (or sciatica) in a primary care setting. Konstantinou 2012 Eur Spine J.
- Effect of NSAIDs on Recovery From Acute Skeletal Muscle Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Morelli 2017 Am J Sports Med.