Medical Research

Acupuncture Saves Money for Low Back Pain Treatment in Canada

Kristen Sparrow • December 18, 2011

This might seem obvious, Great Britain prioritizes acupuncture for the same reason, to save money and spend on treatments that work. It’s all about incentives… I’ve cut it down, so please click on title for full abstract.
Reduced health resource use after acupuncture for low-back pain.
Moritz S, Liu MF, Rickhi B, Xu TJ, Paccagnan P, Quan H.
J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Nov;17(11):1015-9. Epub 2011 Nov 9.
1 Canadian Institute of Natural and Integrative Medicine , Calgary, Alberta, Canada .

Abstract Objectives: Acupuncture is commonly used to treat low-back pain (LBP) and clinical trials have demonstrated its efficacy. However, less is known about how the utilization of acupuncture impacts public health service utilization in the real world. This study investigates the association between acupuncture utilization for LBP and health care utilization by assessing whether patients who undergo acupuncture subsequently use fewer health care resources and whether those patients differ in their health care use from the general population with LBP. Results: For the 201 cases and 804 controls, the mean age was 48 years and 54% were female. The number of physician visits for the 1-year period postacupuncture decreased 49% for the acupuncture group (p<0.01) compared to the 1-year period preacupuncture. For the comparison there was a decrease of 2% in physician visits (p=0.59) for the same time periods. Corresponding to the decrease, physician services cost declined 37% for the case group (p=0.01) and 1% for the comparison (p=0.86). Conclusions: Results suggest that patients with LBP were less likely to visit physicians for LBP after acupuncture treatment. This led to reduced health services spending on LBP.

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