Gu CL, Yan Y, Zhang D, et al. An evaluation of the effectiveness of acupuncture with seven acupoint-penetrating needles on cervical spondylosis. J Pain Res. 2019 May 7;12:1441-1445. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S199798. eCollection 2019. (Original study)

Objective: To investigate the clinical efficacy of acupuncture with seven acupoint-penetrating needles on patients with cervical spondylosis. Patients and methods: Sixty patients with cervical spondylosis were grouped using computer-generated random numbers. Group A (n=30) received acupuncture with seven acupoint-penetrating needles combined with traction. Group B (n=30) received acupuncture of non-relevant acupuncture points combined with traction. Clinical efficacy and changes in the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Neck Disability Index (NDI), and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) scores in the two groups were compared. Results: The total effective rate was significantly higher in group A (90.0%) than in group B (76.6%) (P<0.05). The VAS, NDI, and PSQI scores of the two groups after treatment were significantly lower than scores before treatment (P<0.05). After treatment, the NDI and PSQI scores of group A were significantly lower than those in group B (P<0.05). Conclusion: Acupuncture using seven acupoint-penetrating needles combined with traction was more effective, reduced neck pain, and improved sleep quality in patients with cervical spondylosis compared to acupuncture of non-relevant acupuncture points.

Discipline Area Score
Rehab Clinician (OT/PT) 5 / 7
Physician 4 / 7
Comments from MORE raters

Physician rater

Only caveat is that the subject studied was cervical spondylosis. I'm not sure that was the cause of the patient's symptoms. However, the treatment was effective in addressing the symptoms, and that is what matters.

Physician rater

This study looked at the addition of acupuncture to cervical traction in the management of neck pain due to cervical Spondylitis. The control group was irrelevant acupuncture points with the addition of cervical traction. Both treatment groups after two periods of treatment, each period lasting 5 days with benefits favouring the active acupuncture treatment group. The main criticisms of this study are the short duration of symptoms due to cervical spondylosis, short duration of treatment, short duration of follow up and relatively small patient numbers (30 in each treatment group). The lack of a true control group with no intervention to allow for the placebo effect is also a weakness of this study.

Rehab Clinician (OT/PT) rater

This is a flawed study from the perspective of the current status of existing research. Cervical traction is known to be an ineffective treatment. Therefore, it's not a reliable comparator. There was no control group. If the study design does not meet basic design standards, I do not read past the summary.
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