The ultimate objective of any research programme into effectiveness must be several large, good quality randomised controlled trials (RCTs) from different centres with consistent results; comparisons with placebo are needed, and then with
other interventions. The results can then be combined in a rigorous systematic review. In acupuncture research, we are reaching an interesting
position where reviews that were previously negative are now being repeated to include recent, high quality studies — and are increasingly becoming
positive. The current evidence confirms the clinical impression that acupuncture is superior to sham acupuncture, as well as superior to usual care for low back pain.
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