Impact of acupuncture treatment on the lumbar surgery rate for low back pain in Korea: A nationwide matched retrospective cohort study.
ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION:Low back pain (LBP) is a globally prevalent disorder with high social significance. Invasive surgical procedures are increasingly being used to treat LBP despite a lack of solid evidence supporting their long-term benefits. This nationwide retrospective cohort study investigated the association between acupuncture treatment and lumbar surgery rate in patients with LBP. METHODS:Using the National Health Insurance Service Sample Cohort Database for 2002-2013, we identified newly diagnosed LBP patients in Korea between 2004 and 2010 and divided them into an acupuncture group and control group according to whether or not they received acupuncture. Propensity scores based on age, sex, income, and Charlson Comorbidity Index were matched between the two study groups. The lumbar surgery rate in the two years following the first visit (control group) or the first acupuncture session (acupuncture group) was calculated. In addition to the overall analysis, stratified analyses were also conducted in different age, sex, and income strata. Sensitivity analyses were further performed using varying definitions of acupuncture treatment. RESULTS:After matching, 130,089 subjects were included in each study group. The lumbar surgery rate was significantly lower in the acupuncture group than in the control group (hazard ratio [HR] 0.633, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.576-0.696). Decrease in HR was consistently observed in the acupuncture group for all age strata, except for patients in their 20s (HR 1.031, 95% CI 0.804-1.323). HR for lumbar surgery tended to be further reduced in the older age groups upon acupuncture treatment, with no apparent sex-related differences. Lowered HR in the acupuncture group was continuously observed across all income groups; the higher income group showed a tendency of greater decrease. Sensitivity analyses showed that the number of acupuncture sessions had no major impact on the likelihood of lumbar surgery, but also that more intensive acupuncture treatment was associated with further reduction in lumbar surgery rates. CONCLUSION:The present results found that administration of acupuncture treatment is associated with lower lumbar surgery rates for LBP patients in Korea. Prospective studies are warranted in the future to further investigate the effect of acupuncture treatment on lumbar surgery incidence.
Project description:Chronic low back pain (LBP), the leading cause of disability globally, is notoriously difficult to treat. Most rodent models of LBP mimic lumbar radicular pain rather than mechanical LBP. Here, we describe establishment of a new rat model of mechanical LBP that is devoid of a neuropathic component. Groups of adult male Sprague Dawley rats were anesthetized and their lumbar L4/L5 and L5/L6 intervertebral disks (IVDs) were punctured (0.5 mm outer diameter, 2mm-deep) 5 (LPB-5X), or 10 (LBP-10X) times per disk. Sham-rats underwent similar surgery, but without disk puncture. Baseline noxious pressure hyperalgesia of lumbar axial deep tissues, mechanical allodynia in the hindpaws and gait were assessed prior to surgery and once-weekly until study completion on day 49. The model was also characterized using pharmacologic and histologic methods. Good animal health was maintained for ≥ 49 days post-surgery. For LBP- but not sham-rats, there was temporal development of noxious pressure hyperalgesia in lumbar axial deep tissues at days 14-49 post-surgery. Importantly, there were no between-group differences in von Frey paw withdrawal thresholds or gait parameters until study completion. On day 49, significant histologic changes were observed in the L4/L5 and L5/L6 IVDs for LBP-10X rats, but not sham-rats. In LBP-10X rats, single bolus doses of morphine produced dose-dependent relief of primary and secondary mechanical hyperalgesia in lumbar axial deep tissues at L4/L5 and L1, respectively. In conclusion, our new rat model has considerable potential for providing novel insight on the pathobiology of mechanical LBP and for analgesic efficacy assessment of novel compounds.
Project description:STUDY DESIGN:An observational study. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a health plan's prior authorization (PA) programs for low back pain (LBP) in a non-Medicare population by assessing changes in pre-surgical nonoperative care; lumbar fusion trends; and overall back surgery rates compared with another health plan with a similar program and national benchmarks. The PA programs require mandatory physiatrist consultation before surgical evaluation, with subsequent additional LBP surgery PA. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:LBP is prevalent and concern exists that spinal fusion is overutilized for LBP. METHODS:Annual rates of lumbar fusion trended over 6 years, and analysis of changes in standardized costs for LBP-related services among a 501-member subset who underwent lumbar fusion before and after program implementations, during the period January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2013, among commercial members aged 18 and 65 years enrolled in a health maintenance organization with commercial membership averaging >500,000 annually. RESULTS:After initiation of the physiatrist PA in December 2010, lumbar fusions decreased from 76.27/100,000 in 2010 to 62.63/100,000 in 2011 with subsequent increases to 64.24/100,000 and 73.84/100,000 in years 2012 and 2013. For members who had lumbar fusion, per-member, pre-surgical costs increased by $2,233 with the physiatrist PA and an additional $1,370 with implementation of the LBP surgery PA (March 2013). Spinal injections and inpatient admissions were the greatest contributors to the overall increase in costs. The physiatrist and LBP surgery PA programs were also associated with lengthening of LBP episodes ending in surgery by 309 and 198 days. CONCLUSION:Mandatory referral to a physiatrist before surgical evaluation did not result in persistent reduction in lumbar fusions. Instead, these programs were associated with the unintended consequence of increased costs from more nonoperative care for only a transitory change in the lumbar fusion rate, likely from delays due to the introduction of both PA programs. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:3.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is caused by neural compression due to narrowing of the lumbar spinal canal or neural foramen. Surgical intervention is a standard treatment for LSS; however, the steep increase in the surgical rate, post-operative complications, and comparatively low long-term satisfaction are considered to be limitations of this surgical approach. Conversely, acupotomy is a minimally invasive technique that combines the effects of conventional acupuncture with micro-incision, which may offer an alternative to surgery for the treatment of LSS. This review was conducted to investigate and critically review the current evidence on the efficacy and safety of acupotomy for LSS. METHODS:Eleven databases were searched from their respective inception dates to December 28, 2018. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing acupotomy and wait-list, sham treatment, or active controls were included. The quality of the included studies was assessed using risk-of-bias tool. RESULTS:Seven RCTs were included in this review and meta-analysis. The methodological quality of the included studies was generally poor. The acupotomy treatment group was associated with significantly lower visual analogue scale scores (range 0∼10) (5 RCTs; mean difference [MD] -1.55, 95% confidence interval [CIs] -2.60 to -0.50; I = 94%) and higher Japanese Orthopedic Association Score (3 RCTs; MD 4.70, 95% CI 3.73 to 5.68; I = 0%) compared to the active control group. In subgroup analysis based on the type of active controls, acupotomy retained significant benefits over lumbar traction and acupuncture, as well as over lumbar traction, spinal decompression, and acupuncture. Safety data were reported in only 1 study, and no adverse events occurred in either the acupotomy or the acupuncture control group. CONCLUSION:According to current evidence, acupotomy might be beneficial for treating LSS. Acupotomy showed consistent superiority over lumbar traction, but the results were mixed in comparisons with other interventions, such as spinal decompression and acupuncture. However, the findings should be interpreted cautiously, given the poor methodological quality of the included studies, and potential small-study effects. Further larger, high-quality, rigorous RCTs should be conducted on this topic and rigorous reporting of acupotomy procedures and safety data should be encouraged.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Modic changes (MCs) have been identified as a diagnostic subgroup associated with low back pain (LBP). The aetiology of MCs is still unknown and there is no effective treatment available. If MCs constitute a specific subgroup of LBP, it seems reasonable to expect different effects from different treatments. The objective of this systematic critical literature review was therefore to investigate if there is evidence in the literature that the presence of MCs at baseline is associated with a favourable outcome depending on the treatment provided for LBP. METHODS: The databases MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for relevant articles from 1984 to December 2010. A checklist including items related to the research questions and quality of the articles was used for data extraction and quality assessment. Of the 1650 articles found, five (six studies) were included in this review but because the studies were so heterogeneous, the results have been reported separately for each study. RESULTS: The treatments studied were: lumbar epidural steroid injections (n = 1), lumbar intradiscal steroid injections (n = 2), lumbar disc replacement (n = 1), fusion surgery (n = 1) and exercise therapy (n = 1). One of the two studies investigating treatment with intradiscal steroid injections and the study investigating fusion surgery reported that MCs were positively associated with the outcomes of pain and disability. The other study on lumbar intradiscal steroid injections and the study on lumbar epidural steroid injections reported mixed results, whereas the study on lumbar disc replacement and the study on exercise therapy reported that MCs were not associated with the outcomes of pain and disability. CONCLUSIONS: The available studies on the topic were too few and too heterogeneous to reach a definitive conclusion and it is therefore still unclear if MCs may be of clinical importance when guiding or prescribing the 'right' treatment for a patient with LBP.
Project description:Cross-sectional study with prospective recruitment.To determine the relationship of pain intensity (back and leg) on patients' acceptance of surgical complication risks when deciding whether or not to undergo lumbar spinal fusion.To formulate informed decisions regarding lumbar fusion surgery, preoperative discussions should include a review of the risk of complications balanced with the likelihood of symptom relief. Pain intensity has the potential to influence a patient's decision to consent to lumbar fusion. We hypothesized that pain intensity is associated with a patient's acceptance of surgical complication risks.Patients being seen for the first time by a spine surgeon for treatment of a nontraumatic or non-neoplastic spinal disorder completed a structured questionnaire. It posed 24 scenarios, each presenting a combination of risks of 3 complications (nerve damage, wound infection, and nonunion) and probabilities of symptom relief. For each scenario, the patient indicated whether he or she would or would not consent to a fusion for low back pain (LBP). The sum of the scenarios in which the patient responded that he or she would elect surgery was calculated to represent acceptance of surgical complication risks. A variety of other data were also recorded, including age, sex, education level, race, history of nonspinal surgery, duration of pain, and history of spinal injections. Data were analyzed using bivariate and multivariate regression analyses.The mean number of scenarios accepted by 118 enrolled subjects was 10.2 (median, 8; SD, 8.5; range, 0-24, or 42.5% of scenarios). In general, subjects were more likely to accept scenarios with lower risks and higher efficacy. Spearman rank correlation estimates demonstrated a moderate association between the LBP intensity and acceptance of surgical complication risks (r = 0.37, P = 0.0001) whereas leg pain intensity had a weak but positive correlation (r = 0.19, P = 0.04). In bivariate analyses, a history of spinal injections was strongly associated with patients' acceptance of surgical complication risks and willingness to proceed with surgery (54.5% of scenarios accepted for those who had a history of spinal injections vs. 27.6% for those with no history of spinal injections, P = 0.0001). White patients were more willing to accept surgery (45.9% of scenarios) than non-white patients (28.4%, P = 0.03). With the available numbers, age, sex, history of nonspinal surgery, education, and the duration of pain demonstrated no clear association with acceptance of surgical complication risks. Although education overall was not an influential factor, more educated males had greater risk tolerance than less educated males whereas more educated females had less risk tolerance than less educated females (P = 0.023). In multivariate analysis, LBP intensity remained a highly statistically significant correlate (P = 0.001) of the proportion of scenarios accepted, as did a history of spinal injections (P = 0.001) and being white (0.03).The current investigation indicates that the intensity of LBP is the most influential factor affecting a patient's decision to accept risk of complication and symptom persistence when considering lumbar fusion. This relationship has not been previously shown for any surgical procedure. These data could potentially change the manner in which patients are counseled to make informed choices about spinal surgery. With growing interest in adverse events and complications, these data could be important in establishing guidelines for patient-directed surgical decision making.
Project description:Background:People with low back pain (LBP) may display an altered lumbar movement pattern of early lumbar motion compared to people with healthy backs. Modifying this movement pattern during a clinical test decreases pain. It is unknown whether similar effects would be seen during a functional activity. Objective:The objective of this study was to examine the lumbar movement patterns before and after motor skill training, effects on pain, and characteristics that influenced the ability to modify movement patterns. Design:The design consisted of a repeated-measures study examining early-phase lumbar excursion in people with LBP during a functional activity test. Methods:Twenty-six people with chronic LBP received motor skill training, and 16 people with healthy backs were recruited as a reference standard. Twenty minutes of motor skill training to decrease early-phase lumbar excursion during the performance of a functional activity were used as a treatment intervention. Early-phase lumbar excursion was measured before and after training. Participants verbally reported increased pain, decreased pain, or no change in pain during performance of the functional activity test movement in relation to their baseline pain. The characteristics of people with LBP that influenced the ability to decrease early-phase lumbar excursion were examined. Results:People with LBP displayed greater early-phase lumbar excursion before training than people with healthy backs (LBP: mean = 11.2°, 95% CI = 9.3°-13.1°; healthy backs: mean = 7.1°, 95% CI = 5.8°-8.4°). Following training, the LBP group showed a decrease in the amount of early-phase lumbar excursion (mean change = 4.1°, 95% CI = 2.4°-5.8°); 91% of people with LBP reported that their pain decreased from baseline following training. The longer the duration of LBP (β = - 0.22) and the more early-phase lumbar excursion before training (β = - 0.82), the greater the change in early-phase lumbar excursion following training. Limitations:The long-term implications of modifying the movement pattern and whether the decrease in pain attained was clinically significant are unknown. Conclusions:People with LBP were able to modify their lumbar movement pattern and decrease their pain with the movement pattern within a single session of motor skill training.
Project description:Some general practitioners (GPs) treat acute low back pain (LBP) with acupuncture, despite lacking evidence of its effectiveness for this condition. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether a single treatment session with acupuncture can reduce time to recovery when applied in addition to standard LBP treatment according to the Norwegian national guidelines. Analyses of prognostic factors for recovery and cost-effectiveness will also be carried out.In this randomised, controlled multicentre study in general practice in Southern Norway, 270 patients will be allocated into one of two treatment groups, using a web-based application based on block randomisation. Outcome assessor will be blinded for group allocation of the patients. The control group will receive standard treatment, while the intervention group will receive standard treatment plus acupuncture treatment. There will be different GPs treating the two groups, and both groups will just have one consultation. Adults who consult their GP because of acute LBP will be included. Patients with nerve root affection, 'red flags', pregnancy, previous sick leave more than 14 days and disability pension will be excluded. The primary outcome of the study is the median time to recovery (in days). The secondary outcomes are rated global improvement, back-specific functional status, sick leave, medication, GP visits and side effects. A pilot study will be conducted.Participation is based on informed written consent. The authors will apply for an ethical approval from the Regional Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics when the study protocol is published. Results from this study, positive or negative, will be disseminated in scientific medical journals.ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01439412.
Project description:Lumbar disc herniation is a major cause of sciatica and low back pain and imposes a heavy burden on both individual and society. While use of pharmacopuncture, a combined form of acupuncture and herbal medicine, for lumbar disc herniation is widespread in Korea and China, there is a paucity of research.This study is the protocol for a three-armed, randomized, patient, physician, and assessor-blinded controlled pilot study. Sixty patients with severe non-acute sciatic pain diagnosed with lumbar disc herniation (NRS ≥ 5, onset between 4 weeks and 6 months) will be recruited and randomized 20 each to the Shinbaro pharmacopuncture (pharmacopuncture with acupuncture), acupuncture, and usual care groups, respectively. The 2 acupuncture groups will receive 2 sessions/week of acupuncture alone or with pharmacopuncture for 4 weeks (total 8 sessions), and the usual care group will receive conventional medication 2-3 times/day and physical therapy 2 sessions/week over 4 weeks (total 8 sessions). The initial acupuncture physician will administer acupuncture at 5 acupoints (GB30, BL40, BL25, BL23, GB34) in the 2 acupuncture groups, and mark an additional acupoint. A second acupuncture physician will administer pharmacopuncture to the marked acupoint in the pharmacopuncture group, and acupuncture in the acupuncture group during acupuncture needle retention. The second physician will administer acupuncture and pharmacopuncture in a similar manner in terms of advice and manual stimulation to maintain patient-blinding, treat the patient out of view of the initial physician, remove the additional acupuncture needle immediately, and cover the area with adhesive bandage to maintain physician-blinding. The primary endpoint will be at 5 weeks post-randomization, and the primary outcome will be Visual Analog Scale (VAS) of sciatic pain. Secondary outcomes will be VAS of low back pain, Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) of low back pain and sciatic pain, ODI, SF-36, EQ-5D, and PGIC. Post-treatment evaluations will take place 5, 7, 9, and 12 weeks after randomization.This trial will evaluate the comparative clinical effectiveness of pharmacopuncture for severe non-acute sciatic pain patients diagnosed with lumbar disc herniation with usual care of conventional medicine and that of Korean medicine (acupuncture), monitor its safety, and serve as basis for a large-scale, multicenter trial.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02384928 , registered 27 February 2015.
Project description:Neuropathy can contribute to low back pain (LBP) in the region of the back. Our study investigated the proportion of neuropathic pain (NP) in low back region in chronic LBP patients from multicenter and clinics in China and identified associated factors. Assessment was made using a questionnaire and the Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (LANSS, only tested in low back region), as well as Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST, merely applied to the low back region), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). Our questionnaire collected demographic information, behavioral habits and medical records. 2116 outpatients over 18 years old complaining of LBP lasting more than 3 months were enrolled in this study. The NP proportion in low back region in chronic LBP patients was 2.8%. Multivariable logistic regression analysis showed that histories of lumbar surgery, abdominal or pelvic surgery, and drinking alcohol were independent positive predictors for LBP of predominantly neuropathic origin (LBNPO), while history of low back sprain and frequently carrying weight as independent negative predictor. Using these parameters may help the identification of patients with chronic LBP likely to develop NP leading to improved treatment outcomes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Interventions for low back pain (LBP) commonly target 'dysfunctional' or atypical lumbo-pelvic kinematics in the belief that correcting aberrant movement improves patients' pain and activity outcomes. If atypical kinematic parameters and postures have a relationship to LBP, they could be expected to more prevalent in people with LBP compared to people without LBP (NoLBP). This exploratory study measured, defined and compared atypical kinematic parameters in people with and without LBP. METHODS:Wireless inertial motion and EMG sensors were used to measure lumbo-pelvic kinematics during standing trunk flexion (range of motion (ROM), timing, sequence coordination, and extensor muscle activation) and in sitting (relative sitting position, pelvic tilt range) in a sample of 126 of adults without LBP and 140 chronic LBP subjects. Atypical movement was defined using the 10th/90th centiles of the NoLBP group. Mean differences and prevalence rates for atypical movement were calculated. Dichotomised pain scores for 'high-pain-on-bending' and 'high-pain-on-sitting' were tested for their association with atypical kinematic variables. RESULTS:For standing flexion, significant mean differences, after adjusting for age and gender factors, were seen for the LBP group with (i) reduced ROM (trunk flexion (NoLBP 111o, LBP 93o, p?<?.0001), lumbar flexion (NoLBP 52o, LBP 46o, p?<?.0001), pelvic flexion (NoLBP 59o, LBP 48o, p?<?.0001), (ii) greater extensor muscle activation for the LBP group (NoLBP 0.012, LBP 0.25 p?<?.0001), (iii) a greater delay in pelvic motion at the onset of flexion (NoLBP -?0.21?s; LBP -?0.36?s, p?=?0.023), (iv) and longer movement duration for the LBP group (NoLBP 2.28?s; LBP 3.18?s, p?<?.0001). Atypical movement was significantly more prevalent in the LBP group for small trunk (×?5.4), lumbar (×?3.0) and pelvic ROM (×?3.9), low FRR (×?4.9), delayed pelvic motion at 20o flexion (×?2.9), and longer movement duration (×?4.7). No differences between groups were seen for any sitting parameters. High pain intensity was significantly associated with small lumbar ROM and pelvic ROM. CONCLUSION:Significant movement differences during flexion were seen in people with LBP, with a higher prevalence of small ROM, slower movement, delayed pelvic movement and greater lumbar extensor muscle activation but without differences for any sitting parameter.