Researchers in Calgary, Alberta investigated the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of lower back pain and discovered that acupuncture reduces health services spending. A group of 201 acupuncture and 804 non-acupuncture lower back pain patients were evaluated for the number of medical doctor visits required for the treatment of lower back pain. The mean age of the group was 48 years and 54 percent of those investigated were female. Results were tabulated as a comparison of the 1 year period prior to acupuncture therapy versus the 1 year period after acupuncture therapy. The same period of time was evaluated for the 804 non-acupuncture patients in the control group.
The acupuncture patients saw doctors 49 percent less after having acupuncture compared with the year prior to having acupuncture. The non-acupuncture patients had a decrease of 2 percent for physician office visits in the same time periods. The acupuncture patients total monetary cost of physician services decreased by 37 percent and the non-acupuncture patients had a 1 percent drop in cost. The researchers concluded that lower back pain patients are less likely to visit physicians for lower back pain after having had acupuncture therapy thereby reducing health services spending.
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Deutsche Zeitschrift für Akupunktur. Volume 55, Issue 3, 2012, Pages 25–26. Reduced health resource use after acupuncture for low-back pain. S Moritza, MF Liub, B Rickhia, b, c, TJ Xua, P Paccagnana, H Quand.
a Canadian Institute of Natural and Integrative Medicine, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
b Department of Data Integration, Measurement, and Reporting, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
c Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
d Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada