Pain

Acupuncture better than usual care for neck pain


Both acupuncture and Alexander Technique lessons may provide long-term relief from chronic neck pain a randomised trial concludes. 

The study of over 500 patients found both interventions led to a significant reduction in neck pain at 12 months compared with usual care alone. 

The 12-month reductions in Northwick Park Questionnaire (NPQ) for neck pain and associated disability from baseline were 32% for acupuncture and 31% for Alexander lessons.

Participant self-efficacy improved for both interventions versus usual care at 6 months (P < 0.001) and was significantly associated (P < 0.001) with 12-month NPQ score reductions (acupuncture, 3.34 percentage points [CI, 2.31 to 4.38 percentage points]; Alexander lessons, 3.33 percentage points [CI, 2.22 to 4.44 percentage points]).

Practitioners who administered the interventions belonged to the two main U.K.-based professional associations, which may limit generalisability of the findings, the researchers noted in their paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. 

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