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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 196978, 9 pages
Research Article

A Randomized Clinical Trial of Auricular Point Acupressure for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Feasibility Study

1School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, 3500 Victoria Street, 440 Victoria Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
2Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, MO, USA
3Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
4School of Medicine, Departments of Psychiatry, Physical Medicine, and Rehabilitation, and Family Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
5Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
6World Academy of Auricular Medicine, Hoover, AL, USA
7School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Received 8 November 2012; Revised 22 January 2013; Accepted 23 January 2013

Academic Editor: Shu-Ming Wang

Copyright © 2013 Chao Hsing Yeh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. This prospective, randomized clinical trial (RCT) was designed to investigate the feasibility and effects of a 4-week auricular point acupressure (APA) for chronic low back pain (CLBP). Methods. Participants were randomized to either true APA (true acupoints with taped seeds on the designated ear points for CLBP) or sham APA (sham acupoints with taped seeds but on different locations than those designated for CLBP). The duration of treatment was four weeks. Participants were assessed before treatment, weekly during treatment, and 1 month following treatment. Results. Participants in the true APA group who completed the 4-week APA treatment had a 70% reduction in worst pain intensity, a 75% reduction in overall pain intensity, and a 42% improvement in disability due to back pain from baseline assessment. The reductions of worst pain and overall pain intensity in the true APA group were statistically greater than participants in the sham group at the completion of a 4-week APA and 1 month followup. Discussion. The preliminary findings of this feasibility study showed a reduction in pain intensity and improvement in physical function suggesting that APA may be a promising treatment for patients with CLBP.