Table 2: Details of acupuncture treatment and control interventions of studies included in the meta-analysis.

Study ID Acupuncture rationale Details of needling Treatment regimenControl interventions (drug/dosage/frequency)
Points usedDepth of insertion/response soughtNeedle stimulationNeedle type/retention timeNo. TSFrequency

Zhan and Liang, 1993 [10]TCMShenshu (BL 23), Zhishi (BL 53), Zhibian (BL 54), Huantiao (GB 30), Yanglingquan (GB 34), Xuanzong (GB 39), Qiuxu (GB 40), Taichong (LR 3), and Fengfu (GV 16)NA/NAManualNumber 30 needles (Hua Tuo card)/20 min40NAPrednisone, Vit B1, Piroxicam (taken orally)/NA/NA

Chen et al., 2007 [12]TCMShenshu (BL 23), Dachangshu (BL 25), Huantiao (GB 30), Weizhong (BL 40), and Kunlun (BL 60)NA/De qiManual0.30 × 60–75 mm/5~30 min10Once a day, 10 times/course, and 3 days' rest after a courseC1: Nimesulide (taken orally)/0.10 g/bid
C2: 654-2 injection (i.m.)/2 mg per acupoint/<10 mg/qd
10 times per course, 3 days’ rest after a course

Dong et al., 2008 [15]TCMHuantiao (GB 30)NA/Gaing of qiManual0.3 mm × 4-inch unused sterile needles (Ruiqi Er brand)/30 min15Once a day, 15 times/courseIbuprofen Sustained Release Capsules (taken orally)/300 mg/bid
15 times per course

Chen, 2010 [16]TCMJiaji () (EX-B2), Zhibian (BL 54), Huantiao (GB 30), Weizhong (BL 40), Chengshan (BL 57), Xuanzhong (GB 39), Kunlun (BL 60), Yinmen (BL 37), and Ashi point2 inches for the points Zhibian and Yanglingquan, 3~4 inches for the point Huantiao; 1.5 inches for the points Yinmen, Weizhong, and Chengshan/muscle twitchElectrical0.30 × 25–40 mm/30 min6Three times per week, two weeks per courseIbuprofen (taken orally)/0.2 g/tid; Prednisone (taken orally)/30 mg/tid
7 times per course

Zhu et al., 2011 [11]TCMHuantiao (GB 30), Juliao (GB 29), Weizhong (BL 40), and Chengshan (BL 57)NA/Huantiao: Gaing of qi to toesElectricalNA/30 min6Once a day, 6 times/course, and 3 days' rest after a courseIbuprofen (taken orally)/300 mg/bid; Vit B1 injection (i.m.)/100 mg/qd; Vit B12 injection (i.m.)/0.25 mg/qd
6 times per course, 3 days’ rest after a course

Zhang, 2012 [17]TCM Posterior limb of lower limbs or back pain: Dachangshu (BL 25), Chengshan (BL 57), Huantiao (GB 30), and Weizhong (BL 40); lateral of lower limbs or buttocks pain: Huantiao (GB 30), Xuanzhong (GB 39), Yanglingquan (GB 34), and Fenglong (ST 40); all pain referred to above: Dachangshu (BL 25), Huantiao (GB 30), Zhibian (BL 54), Kunlun (BL 60), and Yanglingquan (GB 34)NA/De qiManualNA/30 min6Once a day, six times per weekIbuprofen (taken orally)/0.6 g/tid; Prednisone/10 mg/tid
7 times per course, 2 days’ rest after a course

Zhai, 2012 [18]TCMDachangshu (BL 25), Shenshu (BL 23), Huantiao (GB 30), Weizhong (BL 40), and Kunlun (BL 60)NA/De qiManual0.30 × 60–75 mm/15~30 min10Once a day, 10 times/course, and 3 days' rest after a courseNimesulide (taken orally)/0.10 g/bid
10 times per course, 3 days’ rest after a course

Liu, 2012 [19]TCMShenshu (BL 23), Dachangshu (BL 25), Huantiao (GB 30), Weizhong (BL 40), and Kunlun (BL 60)NA/De qiManual0.30 × 60–75 mm/NA10Once a day, 10 times/course, and 3 days' rest after a courseC1: Nimesulide (taken orally)/0.10 g/bid
C2: 654-2 injection (i.m.)/2 mg per acupoint/<10 mg/qd
10 times per course, 3 days’ rest after a course

Qiu, 2013 [5]TCMLateral leg or buttocks pain: Xuanzhong (GB 39), Yanglingquan (GB 34), Huantiao (GB 30), and Fenglong (ST 40); back or posterior limb of lower limbs pain: Dachangshu (BL 25), Chengshan (BL 57), Huantiao (GB 30), and Weizhong (BL 40); all pain referred to above: Zhibian (BL 54), Kunlun (BL 60), Yanglingquan (GB 34), Dachangshu (BL 25), and Huantiao (GB 30)NA/De qiManualNumber 26 6-inch long needles/30 min10~12Once a day, 5~6 times per week, and two weeks per courseIndomethacin (taken orally)/30 mg/bid; Vit B12 (i.m.)/500 u/qd

Huang, 2014 [20]TCMLateral of lower limbs or buttocks pain: Yanglingquan (GB 34), Xuanzhong (GB 39), and Fenglong (ST 40); posterior limb of lower limbs or back pain: Chengshan (BL 57), Dachangshu (BL 25), and Huantiao (GB 30); all pain referred to above: Yanglingquan (GB 34), Zhibian (BL 54), Kunlun (BL 60), and Huantiao (GB 30)NA/NAManualNA/30 min6Once a day, six times per week Ibuprofen (taken orally)/0.6 g/tid; Prednisone (taken orally)/10 mg/tid
7 times per course, 2 days’ rest after a course

Wang, 2014 [21]TCMMain points: Zhibian (BL 54), Huantiao (GB 30), Yanglingquan (GB 34), Juliao (GB 29), Kunlun (BL 60), Chengshan (BL 57), and Xuanzhong (GB 39)
Optional points: damp-heat syndrome: Yinlingquan (SP 9), Pishu (BL 20); cold-dampness syndrome: Yaoyangguan (GV 3), Shenshu (BL 23); blood stasis syndrome: Weizhong (BL 40), Ciliao (BL 32); deficiency of both qi and blood: Geshu (BL 17), Sanyinjiao (SP 6), and Zusanli (ST 36)
NA/De qiElectricalNA/30 min10Once a day, 10 times/course, and 5 days' rest after a courseNimesulide (taken orally)/0.10 g/bid
10 times per course, 3 days’ rest after a course

Ye et al., 2015 [22]TCMJiaji (L4-5) (EX-B2), Jiaji (L5-S5) (EX-B2), Zhibian (BL 54), and Huantiao (GB 30)NA/De qiElectricalNA/30 min6Two times per week, for three weeksDiclofenac Diethylamine gel (external use)/4 g
four times per day, three weeks

C: Control group; NA: not available; TCM: traditional Chinese medicine; No. TS: number of treatment sessions.
i.m.: intramuscular route; qd: once a day; bid: twice a day; tid: three times a day.