Efficacy of acupuncture in rheumatic diseases with spine involvement: Systematic review

Med Clin (Barc). 2019 Sep 27;153(6):250-255. doi: 10.1016/j.medcli.2019.04.020. Epub 2019 Jun 27.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Rheumatic diseases involving the spine, mainly cervical and lumbar spine, are highly prevalent, and consume considerable health resources. Acupuncture is a medical procedure endorsed by the WHO, with a wide spectrum of medical applications. The aim of this study was to review the evidence on acupuncture efficacy in these diseases. A literature search was performed in MEDLINE, CENTRAL and EMBASE (May 2017): 535 citations. We included four global reviews(45 systematic reviews) and three Systematic Reviews(70 clinical trials). Acupuncture improved cervical pain and functionality both immediately and in the short term. It also proved effective in the treatment of acute and chronic low back pain as the first therapeutic line, compared with placebo, and as an adjunct to other conventional treatments. Acupuncture is a safe intervention. However, acupuncture efficacy in radiculopathies (cervical, lumbar), lumbar spinal stenosis and ankylosing spondylitis is still inconclusive. Well-designed studies with medium and long-term evaluation are required.

Keywords: Acupuncture; Acupuntura; Enfermedades reumáticas; Raquis; Revisión sistemática; Rheumatic diseases; Spine; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Rheumatic Diseases / therapy*
  • Spinal Diseases / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome