London, Sep 27 (UNI) Suggesting pain relief a psychological process, researchers have revealed that both genuine and fake accupunctures are twice as effective at reducing lower back pain than conventional medicines.
Back pain afflicts between 70 and 85 per cent of the adult population at some point in their lives and accounts for the loss of almost five million working days each year in the UK.
The research conducted by German medics carried on a trial of more than 1,162 people aged between 18 and 86 who had suffered from lower back pain for an average of eight years, Daily Mail reported.
They were divided into three groups, each of which was treated with either genuine acupuncture treatment, fake acupuncture or with drugs, pain-killers of physiotherapy.
After six months almost 48 per cent of those undergoing genuine treatment reported at least one-third improvement in their condition.
Just over 44 per cent of those on pretend acupuncture said they felt a similar improvement, contrasted to only 27.4 per cent of those treated with traditional treatment.
''Both forms of acupuncture suggest a common underlying mechanism that may act on pain generation, transmission of pain signals or processing of pain signals by the central nervous system and that is stronger than the action mechanism of conventional therapy,'' said research head Michael Haake.
This has been the largest known study into the pain-relieving benefits of acupuncture to date.
In traditional acupuncture, 14 to 20 needles are inserted up to 1-1/2 inches deep at 'medians' and other prescribed locations until the patient is said to experience a numbing sensation. In the fake accupuncture, the needles are inserted less deeply.
It had previously been believed that the process whereby needles are inserted into the skin, was only effective if the needles were inserted at precisely the right points on the body.
But the study suggests that there are in fact no physical effects at all, and the healing stems from the patients psychological conviction that they are getting better.
Another study revealed that 4.9 million working days are currently lost each year as a result of lower back pain.