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27/06/2006 - Acupuncture for chronic neck pain.

News release:

Researchers from Charite University Medical Center in Germany have found that treatment with Acupuncture added to routine care in patients with chronic neck pain is associated with improvements in neck pain and disability compared to treatment with routine care alone.

Acupuncture is commonly used for clients experiencing problems arising from the neck region including neck pain and neck stiffness. There is a lack of evidence about the effectiveness of Acupuncture treatment used in routine medical care.

The researchers in this study used 14,161 patients with chronic neck pain experienced for more than 6 months in a randomized controlled multicentre trial plus a non-randomized cohort.

Patients were divided randomly and of the 14,161 patients, 1880 were randomized to Acupuncture, 1886 to the control group , and 10,395 included into the non-randomized Acupuncture group. The Acupuncture group received up to 15 treatments over a three month period. Patients who did not consent to randomisation received Acupuncture and all subjects were allowed to receive usual medical care in addition to study treatment.

After three months the neck pain and disability patients experienced was graded using the neck pain and disability scale by Wheeler. Neck pain and disability improved by 16.2 to 38.3 and by 3.9 to 50.5 in the Acupuncture and control group respectively.

Treatment success was essentially maintained through six months. Non-randomized patients had more severe symptoms at baseline and showed higher neck pain and disability improvement compared to randomized patients.


Acupuncture for patients with chronic neck pain. Witt CM, Jena S, Brinkhaus B, Liecker B, Wegscheider K, Willich SN. Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Economics, Charite University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany.