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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 870271, 10 pages
Review Article

Acupuncture for Treating Whiplash Associated Disorder: A Systematic Review of Randomised Clinical Trials

1Medical Research Division, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon 305-811, Republic of Korea
2Jaseng Oriental Hospital, Bundang 463-824, Republic of Korea
3The Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool L3 2AY, UK
4Department of Oriental Medicine, International St. Mary’s Hospital, Incheon 404-834, Republic of Korea
5Department of Family Medicine, International St. Mary’s Hospital, Incheon 404-834, Republic of Korea
6Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter EX2 4SG, UK

Received 5 January 2014; Accepted 30 March 2014; Published 8 May 2014

Academic Editor: William Chi-shing Cho

Copyright © 2014 Tae-Woong Moon 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.


The aim of this systematic review was to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of whiplash associated disorder (WAD). Twenty databases were searched from their inceptions to Oct. 2013. Randomised clinical trials (RCTs) of acupuncture (AT), electroacupuncture (EA), or dry needling (DN) for the treatment of WAD were considered eligible. The risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane tool. Six RCTs met the inclusion criteria. Most of the included RCTs have serious methodological flaws. Four of the RCTs showed effectiveness of AT, AT in addition to usual care (UC), AT in addition to herbal medicine (HM) or EA was more effective than relaxation, sham EA, sham EA in addition to HM or UC for conditioned pain modulation (CPM) and alleviating pain. In one RCT, DN in addition to physiotherapy (PT) had no effect compared to sham-DN in addition to PT for the reduction of pain. None of the RCTs showed that AT/EA/DN was more effective than various types of control groups in reducing disability/function. One RCT did not report between-group comparisons of any outcome measures. The evidence for the effectiveness of AT/EA/DN for the treatment of WAD is limited. Therefore, more research in this area is warranted.