Yip YB, Tse SH. Complement Ther Med. 2004 Mar;12(1):28-37 School of Nursing, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong, PR China. hsvyip@inet.polyu.edu.hk

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OBJECTIVES

To assess the effect of acupoint stimulation with electrodes combined with acupressure using an aromatic essential oil (lavender) as an add-on-treatment on pain relief and enhancing the physical functional activities among adults with sub-acute or chronic non-specific low back pain.

DESIGN

Randomised controlled trial.

SETTING

The community centre, Old-Aged Home and Women Workers Association, Hong Kong. Intervention: 8-session relaxation acupoint stimulation followed by acupressure with lavender oil over a 3-week period. The control group received usual care only.

OUTCOME MEASURES

Changes from baseline to the end of treatment were assessed in pain intensity (by Visual Analogue Scale) and duration; lateral fingertip-to-ground distance in centimetres; walking time and interference on daily activities.

RESULTS

The baseline VAS scores for the intervention and control groups were 6.38 (S.E.M. = 0.22) and 5.70 (S.E.M. = 0.37) out of 10, respectively ( P=0.24 ). One week after the end of treatment, the intervention group had 39% greater reduction in VAS pain intensity than the control group ( P=0.0001 ), improved walking time ( P=0.05 ) and greater lateral spine flexion range ( P=0.01 ).

 

CONCLUSIONS

Our results show that 8-sessions of acupoint stimulation followed by acupressure with aromatic lavender oil were an effective method for short-term LBP relief. No adverse effects were reported. To complement mainstream medical treatment for sub-acute LBP, the combined therapy of acupoint stimulation followed by acupressure with aromatic lavender oil may be one of the choices as an add-on therapy for short-term reduction of LBP.