Reviews of the efficacy of acupuncture as a treatment for acute low back pain (aLBP) have shown that there is insufficient evidence for its effect and that more research is needed. Motion style acupuncture treatment (MSAT) is novel in that it requires a part of the patient’s body to move passively or actively while acupuncture needles are retained. A multicenter, randomized, comparative effectiveness trial was conducted to evaluate the effects of MSAT in aLBP with severe disability. A total of 58 aLBP patients with severe functional disability (defined per Oswestry Disability Index [ODI] ⩾60%) were recruited and assigned randomly to receive 1 session of either conventional diclofenac injection (n=29) or MSAT (n=29). The primary outcome measured improvement in LBP using the 10-point numerical rating scale of LBP, and the secondary outcome assessed disability using the Oswestry Disability Index at 30minutes and at 2, 4, and 24weeks after treatment. Analyses were by intention to treat. The numerical rating scale of the MSAT group decreased 3.12 (95% confidence interval=2.26, 3.98; P<.0001) more than that of the injection group and the Oswestry Disability Index of the MSAT group decreased 32.95% (95% confidence interval=26.88, 39.03; P<.0001) more than that of the injection group, respectively. The difference between the 2 groups maintained statistical significance at 2 and 4weeks after treatment. These results suggest that MSAT has positive effects on immediate pain relief and the functional recovery of aLBP patients with severe disability.