Certain patient factors may affect the clinical response to electroacupuncture treatment for low back pain, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open. Researchers evaluated the effect of real electroacupuncture (59 patients) versus placebo (62 patients) on pain and disability among randomly assigned adults with chronic low back pain for at least 6 months. After adjusting for baseline pain scores, there was no statistically significant difference observed between groups for change in National Institutes of Health PROMIS T-scores two weeks after completion of treatment. There was a significantly greater reduction noted in Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) scores in the real electroacupuncture group versus the sham electroacupuncture group after adjusting for baseline RMDQ score. Effective coping at baseline was associated with greater RMDQ score reduction, while White race was associated with worse PROMIS and RMDQ scores—both within the real electroacupuncture group. “If validated, these findings may help match people to treatment,” the authors write. “For example, low scores on the coping strategies questionnaire could identify individuals who may need psychological intervention alone or as an augmentation to electroacupuncture.”
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