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A Cochrane Database systematic review carried out by an internationalteam has found mixed evidence of benefit from acupuncture in the treatment of low back pain. Thirty-three studies with 8270 participants were included in their analysis. They concluded that acupuncture may not play a more clinically meaningful role than sham in relieving pain immediately after treatment, or in improving quality of life in the short term, and that acupuncture did not improve back function compared with sham in the immediate term. However, acupuncture was found to be more effective than no treatment for improving pain and function in the immediate term. Trials with usual care as the control showed that although acupuncture may improve function immediately after sessions as well as physical quality of life in the short term. The quality of evidence was judged to be moderate to very low-certainty, since most studies had a high risk of bias and small sample sizes.

Acupuncture for chronic nonspecific low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Dec 11;12:CD013814.