Background and Aims To compare Massage-Electroacupuncture (MA) versus Epidural Analgesia (EP) in patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP).
Methods Patients with CLBP were randomly allocated to MA or EP. MA involved 8 sessions per week, while EP involved 3 epidural injections administered at 15-day intervals. Pain was evaluated using the 10-unit visual analogue scale, psychological parameters were assessed with the Profile of Mood States scale (POMS), and quality-of-life was appraised with the 36-item Short Form survey (SF-36). Evaluations were performed before randomization and immediately after the completion of each treatment, while two additional assessments by telephone were scheduled at 24- and 48-weeks post-intervention.
Results 110 patients [female 63 (58.7%), age 49.97±9.90 years] were allocated into the MA (n=55) and EP group (n=55). Significant improvements in pain levels were observed over the 48-week follow-up (p<0.001 in both groups). Total POMS improved immediately after the interventions (p<0.001 in both groups), but returned to baseline at the 24- and 48-week follow-up). Similar improvement was observed in the SF-36 (p<0.001 in both groups) but recessed after the 48-week follow-up. MA was superior to EP for pain management immediately after the intervention (1.89 vs. 3.00 VAS units; p<0.001) and at 48 weeks (2.05 vs. 3.70 VAS units; p<0.001) post-intervention.
Conclusions Both methods are equally effective in reducing chronic low back pain and improving psychological or quality-of-life parameters in patients with chronic low back pain.
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