Oh, how… sensationalized. Because even according to the article, the headline is misleading.
An acupuncture trial in four Melbourne emergency departments has found it is just as good as drugs in relieving lower-back pain and that from sprained ankles and migraines.
The finding could open the door to Australian hospitals offering the low-cost Chinese therapy, which is used by more than 1 billion people worldwide for pain relief.
Emergency physicians at The Alfred, Northern, Cabrini and Epworth hospitals partnered with RMIT’s school of health sciences to see if acupuncture could relieve acute pain in hundreds of patients presenting to hospital with either lower-back pain, sprained ankles or migraines.
Dr Ben-Meir, director of Cabrini Hospital’s emergency department, said the randomised controlled study of about 550 patients also found that the combination of acupuncture with standard pharmaceutical care delivered equivalent pain relief to acupuncture alone or standard care alone.
So… wait…something does not add up.
How do they explain that standard care was no better than standard care + acupuncture or just acupuncture? That doesn’t suggest acupuncture does ANYTHING. It suggested instead that ANYTHING is better than nothing or that the drugs. This study seems to have been headed by someone who had personal observations of acupuncture results so he may have been biased from the start to a positive result. He does note, however, “I find acupuncture doesn’t always help all patients, but occasionally it’s the thing that really shifts them and gets them home and gets their symptoms resolved,” he said. “It has an effect, there’s no doubt about that.”
The effects are indeed doubtful. After many studies, we have no mechanisms and no solid effect from acupuncture beyond placebo. The study has not been published yet so we can’t really say how well it was done or what it really said. Regardless, one study would not overturn all the other negative evidence against anything special about acupuncture.
- Acupuncture Doesn’t Work
- Can we finally just say that acupuncture is nothing more than an elaborate placebo?
- Acupuncture for Migraine
- Acupuncture Revisited
This study cost $400,000 just to show again that acupuncture is a placebo? That has already been done. Was this study actually needed? The science is fairly solid on acupuncture. It’s placebo. But those so attached to the magical properties can’t seem to accept that. Or, they have equated placebo effects with “effective treatment”. I’d rather be given a sugar pill hopefully than have needles stuck into me even very carefully! There is a risk with acupuncture and no real payoff.
Thanks to Dr. Rachie for the info.