This new article by friend of blog Vitaly Napadow shows improved tactile acuity after treatment with acupuncture for Low Back Pain. This is significant because
“Previous neuroimaging studies have shown that other chronic pain disorders also demonstrate altered brain structure in S1, as well as other pain-related brain areas (As-Sanie et al., 2012, Kong et al., 2013, Kregel et al., 2015, Ung et al., 2014). Following acupuncture, such maladaptive neuroplasticity showed improvement, and was linked with improved pain and/or peripheral nerve conduction latency (Napadow et al., 2007, Maeda et al., 2017). Although acupuncture-induced neuroplasticity had been reported for neuropathic pain disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, similar outcomes have not been reported for cLBP.”
So this study shows that there are verified changes in the brain and in sensation after real acupuncture but not with sham acupuncture. Note: I’m surprised that Kapchuk is on this paper since he has repeatedly said that acupuncture effectiveness is highly correlated with the practioner and largely placebo.