According to a WebMD article about treating chronic back pain, a study was done using acupuncture. Even the “sham” techniques worked better than usual treatments like painkillers.

Here’s the teaser:

The ancient technique of acupuncture helps relieve chronic back pain better than standard care such as medications or physical therapy, according to a new study.

Even more surprising, all three acupuncture techniques tested — including a “sham” technique with toothpicks and no skin puncturing — worked better than the usual care given for the problem.

“Acupuncture-like treatments had a positive effect overall on people’s chronic back pain,” says study researcher Dan Cherkin, PhD, a senior investigator at Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle. “It didn’t matter if you inserted the needle or superficially poked [the skin].”

Read the whole article here.