Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2008) 16, 28—35
available at www.sciencedirect.com
journal homepage: www.elsevierhealth.com/journals/ctim
Longitudinal changes in the disability level of the
elders with low back pain after auriculotherapy
Lorna K.P. Suen
, Eric M.C. Wong
The Nethersole School of Nursing, Esther Lee Building, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Branch of The Chinese Cochrane Centre, School of Public Health, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Available online 20 February 2008
Low back pain;
Objective: To evaluate the longitudinal changes in the disability level of elders with LBP after
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Settings: Sixty participants who were 60 years old or above and who were suffering from LBP
were recruited from ﬁve hostels for the elders in Hong Kong.
Interventions: The participants were randomly allocated to receive a 3-week session of auricu-
lotherapy using either semen vaccariae (control group = 30) or magnetic pellets (experimental
group = 30). Seven auricular acupoints that are expected to have an effect on LBP were selected.
Main outcome measures: Assessment data were collected at ﬁve points of time: (i) baseline, (ii)
about 1.5 weeks of treatment, (iii) 3 weeks of treatment, (iv) 2 weeks post-treatment, and (v)
4 weeks post-treatment using the modiﬁed Aberdeen low back pain disability scale (Chinese).
Results: When the rate of change was compared between the two groups at each point of time
starting from the baseline, those in the experimental group demonstrated signiﬁcant improve-
ment in the overall disability level, pain/sensation, and physical and functional abilities at
1.5 weeks of treatment (p < 0.001), 3 weeks of treatment (p < 0.001), 2 weeks post-treatment
(p < 0.001), and 4 weeks post-treatment (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Longitudinal changes in the improvement of disability level were found among the
elders with low back pain after receiving auriculotherapy using magnetic pellets.
© 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Low back pain (LBP) is a common problem with a high
This disorder frequently occurs among the
Source of funding support: This project was funded by the Spe-
cial Departmental Research Fund (SDRF-Z032) of The Hong Kong
Corresponding author. Tel.: +852 2609 8166; fax: +852 2603 5269.
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (L.K.P. Suen).
elders, and the reported prevalence of low back pain for
this population ranges from 13% to 49%.
The possible con-
sequences of unmanaged LBP among the older age group are
well documented with reports of depression,
and compromised quality of life.
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), LBP
(pain in the lumbar region) is caused by an invasion of
exogenous pathogenic cold and damp, which obstructs the
circulation of Qi in meridians and collaterals. LBP is also
caused by a deﬁciency of Qi in the kidney that results in the
poor nourishment of the meridians in the lumbar region,
0965-2299/$ — see front matter © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.