The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Predictors of a positive response to acupuncture for chronic pain

    Researchers in Germany searched the records from almost 10,000 patients for predictors of a positive response.

    First, the details.

    • 9,990 patients with chronic low back pain, headache, neck pain, or pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
      • Routine care
      • Acupuncture in addition to routine care
    • The 3-month change based on the SF-36 bodily pain subscale was recorded.
    • Patients’ characteristics and their interaction with treatment were reviewed to determine their effect on treatment outcomes.

    And, the results.

    • The outcome was significantly improved in the acupuncture group.
    • Predictors of outcome in both treatment groups:
      • Age
      • Education
      • Duration of illness
      • Baseline pain
      • Certain concomitant diseases
    • Patient characteristics significantly associated with a positive response to the acupuncture effect:
      • Previous positive acupuncture experience
      • Failure of other therapies before the study
      • Living in a multi-person household
      • Female

    The bottom line?

    The authors come to no definitive conclusions, except to recommend more research.

    I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that past experience with acupuncture, frustration due to failed past therapy, and peer pressure to have a positive experience are factors that influence satisfaction with acupuncture in patients with chronic pain.

    6/29/11 22:08 JR

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