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Principal Investigator Ajay Wasan, M.D., Psychiatry
The Association Amongst Acupuncture Analgesia, Expectancy, and Psychiatric Comorbidity in Patients with Low Back Pain
Analgesia is one of the most studied therapeutic effects of both acupuncture and placebo. Clinical randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving acupuncture for pain relief tend to report contradictory or equivocal outcomes often due to the fact that control groups exhibit beneficial treatment effects on the same order of magnitude as the acupuncture treatment groups [1-4]. In contrast, basic science research investigating both acupuncture and placebo analgesia has produced unequivocal results [5-8] that have led to specific testable mechanistic hypotheses. This study applies the basic science methodology of acupuncture analgesia prior to the administration of thermal pain to a clinical population of patients with low back pain, while monitoring expectations for relief and controlling for psychiatric comorbidity. This is a first step in elucidating mechanisms for success or failure of acupuncture.

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