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Patients who have Lower Back Pain and are Treated with Acupuncture Have 36% Less of a Chance of Undergoing Surgery

A research result was published that showed that patients with lower back pain who had acupuncture treatment have 36% less of a chance to undergo lumbar surgery. If they receive the acupuncture treatment as early as possible during the first stage of onset, the chance of undergoing surgery was further lowered.

According to the research team of Won-il Koh of Jaseng Spine and Joint Research Institute (Director: In-hyuk Ha), these results were observed in all age groups over thirty years of age. Among them, the probability of undergoing surgery in their 60s and 70s decreased by more than 50%.

The results of this study were published in the latest edition (June issue) of the SCI(E) grade international academic journal (PloS One, IF=2.806).

The research team used the health insurance data from 2004 to 2010 to investigate the rate of those undergoing surgery in the next two years for all patients with lower back pain in Korea. Of the total 502,264 lower back pain patients, they analyzed the data by dividing the patients into two groups; 138,207 patients who received acupuncture treatment and 143,332 patients who did not receive acupuncture treatment.

For accurate analysis, the researchers paired patients from the two groups based on gender, age, income level, and accompanying disease; 130,089 patients were selected from each group. After two years of doing follow-ups, 701 patients underwent surgery in the acupuncture group and 1,104 patient underwent surgery in the non-acupuncture group. As a result, the lumbar spine surgery rate of the patients who received acupuncture treatment was 36% lower than those who did not receive acupuncture.

Of the patients who received acupuncture treatment, those who received it earlier had a lower rate of surgery. The research team set the period of the acupuncture treatment from one week to five weeks and analyzed the rate of undergoing surgery by periods. The results showed that the rate of undergoing surgery increased weekly.

“This study observed about 300,000 patients from 2004 to 2010 and has a strong statistical significance,” and “This study is significant in that it identified the fact that the rate of undergoing surgery was lower for lower back pain patients who received acupuncture treatment and I hope these results can be utilized as baseline data in order to manage future lower back patients and to decide on the public health policies.” said Won-il Koh, the researcher of Jaseng Spine and Joint Research Institute.f20180620_02