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Acupuncture for lateral elbow pain

Evidence Summaries

Level of Evidence = D

There is insufficient evidence from controlled trials to either support or refute the use of acupuncture in the treatment of lateral elbow pain.

A Cochrane review 1 included 4 studies with a total of 239 subjects. Due to flaws in study designs, uncertain allocation concealment, and clinical differences between trials, data from trials could not be combined for meta-analysis. One trial found needle acupuncture to result in pain relief for longer than placebo (WMD = 18.8 hours, 95% CI 10.1 to 27.5). A second trial demonstrated an overall participant reported improvement than placebo in the short term (RR 0.09, 95% CI 0.01 0.64). Two trials demonstrated no differences between laser acupuncture and placebo, or acupuncture plus vitamin B12 and vitamin B12 alone. No benefit lasting for more than 24 hours could be demonstrated in the trials.

Comment: The quality of evidence is downgraded by severe study limitations and sparse data.


1. Green S, Buchbinder R, Barnsley L, Hall S, White M, Smidt N, Assendelft W. Acupuncture for lateral elbow pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2002;(1):CD003527.  [PMID:11869671]

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"Acupuncture for Lateral Elbow Pain." Evidence-Based Medicine Guidelines, Duodecim Medical Publications Limited, 2019. Evidence Central, evidence.unboundmedicine.com/evidence/view/EBMG/453338/all/Acupuncture_for_lateral_elbow_pain.
Acupuncture for lateral elbow pain. Evidence-Based Medicine Guidelines. Duodecim Medical Publications Limited; 2019. https://evidence.unboundmedicine.com/evidence/view/EBMG/453338/all/Acupuncture_for_lateral_elbow_pain. Accessed August 21, 2019.
Acupuncture for lateral elbow pain. (2019). In Evidence-Based Medicine Guidelines. Available from https://evidence.unboundmedicine.com/evidence/view/EBMG/453338/all/Acupuncture_for_lateral_elbow_pain
Acupuncture for Lateral Elbow Pain [Internet]. In: Evidence-Based Medicine Guidelines. Duodecim Medical Publications Limited; 2019. [cited 2019 August 21]. Available from: https://evidence.unboundmedicine.com/evidence/view/EBMG/453338/all/Acupuncture_for_lateral_elbow_pain.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Acupuncture for lateral elbow pain ID - 453338 BT - Evidence-Based Medicine Guidelines UR - https://evidence.unboundmedicine.com/evidence/view/EBMG/453338/all/Acupuncture_for_lateral_elbow_pain PB - Duodecim Medical Publications Limited DB - Evidence Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -