Article Text

AB1234-HPR Effect of Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture in Pain, Disability and Depression in Patients with Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  1. J. Comachio,
  2. M. Oliveira Magalhães,
  3. C. Coelho Oliveira,
  4. I.F. Rodrigues Silva,
  5. A.P. de Moura Carvalho e Silva,
  6. A. Pasqual Marques
  1. Department of Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil


Background Chronic nonspecific low back pain (CNLBP) is a serious health and socioeconomic problem responsible for a high rate of work absenteeism and reduced functional performance. Acupuncture and electroacupuncture has shown positive results reducing pain and disability. However, we still have inconclusive results.

Objectives To compare the effect of the techniques of acupuncture and electroacupuncture in the treatment of Pain, Functional Disability and Depression in patients with CNLPB.

Methods This study examined 55 patients with low back pain randomized into two groups: Electroacupuncture group (GE) (n=28: 14 women and 14 men; mean age = 47.2 (10.5) years) and Acupuncture group (GA) (n=27: 19 women and 8 men; mean age = 49.4 (9.9) years). The interventions were individualized, forty minutes per session, for six weeks and often twice a week. The following questionnaires were used: the Pain Numeric Scale (NRS) for pain intensity, Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire for Disability and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) for depression. Intergroup statistical analysis was performed using the t-test for data sets with normal distribution and the same variance and Mann-Whitney Rank Sum Test for data sets without normal distribution or equal variance. The significance level was α=0.05.

Results The groups are homogeneous in age, weight, height and body mass index. Both groups showed improvement in pain, disability and depression. Acupuncture group had 48% improvement in pain [7.7±1.7; 4.0±2.6; <0.001], functional disability 53.4% [12.9±4.9; 6.5±4.4; <0.001] and depression 38% [10.9±8.5; 4.2±5.0; <.001]. The Electroacupuncture group also showed improvement in pain 42% [7.6±1.3; 4.4±2.2; <0.001], functional disability 43.3% [12.9±4.9; 6.5±4.4; <0.001] and depression 47% [12.3±8.2; 5.8±4.2; <0.001].

Conclusions Our results suggest that Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture has similar effects for pain, functional disability and depression.


  1. Delitto A, George SZ, Van Dillen LR, Whitman JM, Sowa G, Shekelle P, et al. Low back pain. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2012;42(4):A1-57.

  2. Airaksinen O, Brox JI, Cedraschi C, Hildebrandt J, Klaber-Moffett J, Kovacs F, et al. Chapter 4. European guidelines for the management of chronic nonspecific low back pain. Eur Spine J 2006;15 Suppl 2:S192-300.

  3. Witt CM, Schutzler L, Ludtke R, Wegscheider K, Willich SN: Patient Characteristics and Variation in Treatment Outcomes Which Patients Benefit Most From Acupuncture for Chronic Pain? Clin J Pain 2011, 27:550-555.

Disclosure of Interest None declared

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