PainSci summary of Frost 2006?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. ★★★★☆4-star ratings are for bigger/better studies and reviews published in more prestigious journals, with only quibbles. 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 sensible BMJ editorial about the surprising, interesting, and promising results of Hsieh et al.’s test of acupressure for back pain. Key points:
- Although I like this piece overall, I disagree with the background point there has ever been any reliable positive evidence about acupuncture. I maintain that acupuncture dose not work and all apparently “positive” evidence is pure spin and wishful thinking (see Does Acupuncture Work for Pain? for my full argument).
- But this study was well-designed and the results were “striking.”
- “ … we might need to ask why Chinese medicine clinicians use acupuncture for back pain, rather than acupressure.” Good question.
- “Cultural differences are probably important in the experience and reporting of back pain” — true, and an understatement.
- Treatment in the physical therapy group “may have been suboptimal.” Another understatement. (It included infrared light “therapy.” Seriously?)
- And this is the main caveat, and it’s huge: “patients' expectations and placebo effects are both likely to play a part in determining the outcome of interventions such as acupressure, and the additional benefits of acupressure cannot be established from this pragmatic trial.”
- In other words, acupressure may have had an unfair advantage: a treatment nearly guaranteed to have a huge placebo effect compared to shabby physical therapy. Perhaps the results aren’t so striking after all?
- “Would the effect be the same if Western clinicians were trained in these techniques, and would patients in the West with different cultures and lifestyles respond as well?”
- “A randomized controlled clinical trial for low back pain treated by acupressure and physical therapy,” Lisa Li-Chen Hsieh, Chung-Hung Kuo, Ming-Fang Yen, and Tony Hsiu-Hsi Chen, Prev Med, 2004.
Frost 2006 is about:
- 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.