British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 11, Iss. 21, 28 Nov 2002, pp 1395 - 1403
Back pain is a major economic burden in the UK, with increasing numbers of patients seeking complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, as a means to supplement traditional medical treatments. Studies to date have produced conflicting results relating to the efficacy of acupuncture and thus this systematic review will provide a concise summary of the clinical scenario in Western countries. A search of various electronic databases identified 11 articles consisting of three case studies, five randomized controlled trials, and two cross-over trials. Systematic examination of these articles did not provide definitive evidence to support or refute the use of acupuncture in the treatment of low back pain. In an era of increasing demands for evidence-based practice and professional accountability, the absence of irrefutable scientific evidence places nurses and medics in a vulnerable position.