Objective: To investigate the effect of different heat-stimulating time lengths on lower back pain.
Methods: Forty participants were randomly assigned to four groups of various heating time lengths. The short heating time length group (SL), moderate heating time length group (ML), and long heating time length group (LL) respectively received 15, 30, and 60 min of moxibustion therapy stimulating the acupoint Guanyuan (CV 4). The conventional acupuncture group (CA) received needle acupuncture treatment as a control group. The participants were treated continuously over a 2-week treatment period for a total of 10 sessions, with five sessions given per week. Participants were assessed weekly by blinded assessors,using the visual analogue scale (VAS) and Roland Morris Questionnaire (RMQ).
Results: The VAS and RMQ scores reduced in all four groups during treatment. There were significant differences in VAS scores (P < 0.01) and RMQ scores (P < 0.01) between before treatment and after 2 weeks of treatment in the LL group. After treatment, the LL group reported significantly lower VAS scores compared with the CA group, ML group, and SL group (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: The long and moderate lengths of heat-stimulating time of 30 and 60 min may be more effective for relieving lower back pain than that of short stimulating time lengths.