The Safer Solution for Back Pain

There's a good reason why patients, particularly baby boomers, are turning to alternative medicine like acupuncture: They work more gently and effectively than conventional means, namely a high-priced and potentially toxic drug.

Based on two studies in the British Medical Journal, the benefits of acupuncture may seem small but, over time, are far better and more cost-effective. In one report, researchers compared the effectiveness of traditional back treatments to up to 10 sessions of acupuncture on 240 adult patients (ages 18-65) for two years.

Patients assigned to the acupuncture reported only a small benefit after 12 months, but, by the end, weren't as concerned about their back pain, took less pain medication and more likely to have no pain over the previous year.

A second study evaluating acupuncture strictly by dollars also justified its slightly higher cost in terms of quality of life issues, a big concern if you don't want to drop dead after taking a pain-killing drug. If needles bother you needlessly, there are other natural alternatives that are just as safe and effective.

British Medical Journal September 15, 2006

British Medical Journal September 15, 2006

Boston Globe September 18, 2006 Registration Required

EurekAlert September 14, 2006

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