Reference:Wand BM1, Moseley GL. Acupuncture applied as a sensory discrimination training tool decreases movement-related pain in patients with chronic low back pain more than acupuncture alone: a randomised cross-over experiment. Br J Sports Med. 2013 Nov;47(17):1085-9.
Lorimer Mosely never thought he would be participating in an acupuncture paper, but he did.
Patient with persistent LBP were randomly assigned to two needling groups but both patient groups received the same number of needles, in the same points, inserted to the same depth and with an identical type and amount of needle manipulation.
The only difference was that the patients in the control group were asked to relax and not focus on the needles. Whereas the patients in the experimental group were instructed to consciously focus on the location of each needle and be aware when a needle was moved … they were to refer to an image and estimate the position of each needle.
Compared to the patients who received “passive needling”, those in the “mindfulness needling” group reported immediately less pain with movement.
Perhaps sometimes acupuncture / needling might help people with back pain by improving self-perception and awareness of the back and perhaps needling a painful area improves symptoms through a sensory discrimination like effect.