Study design: A randomized, double-blind, controlled, multicenter trial was conducted.
Objectives: To assess the efficacy of neuroreflexotherapy in the management of low back pain.
Summary and background data: Neuroreflexotherapy consists of temporary implantation of epidermal devices in trigger points in the back and referred tender points in the ear.
Methods: The rheumatology and rehabilitation departments of three teaching hospitals in Madrid recruited 78 patients with chronic low back pain. These patients were randomly assigned to the control group (37 patients) or to the treatment group (41 patients). Patients in the treatment group underwent one neuroreflexotherapeutic intervention. The control group received sham treatment consisting of placement of the same number of epidermal devices within a 5-cm radius of the target zones. Patients from both groups were allowed to continue drug treatment as previously prescribed. The use of medications during the trial was recorded.
Results: Patients underwent clinical evaluations on three occasions: within 5 minutes before intervention, within 5 minutes after intervention, and 45 days later. The preintervention assessment was carried out by the physician from each hospital department who included the patient in the study. Each of the two follow-up assessments were carried out independently by two of three physicians who had no connection with the research team. Patients in the treatment group showed immediate lessening of pain compared with the results in patients in the control group. The pain relief was clinically relevant and statistically significant, and it persisted up to the end of the trial.
Conclusions: Neuroreflexotherapy intervention seems to be a simple and effective treatment for rapid amelioration of pain episodes in patients with chronic low back pain. At this time, the duration of pain relief beyond 45 days has not been evaluated.