Comparison of the efficacy of Acupuncture and Conventional Physiotherapy treatment in the management of SIJ dysfunction- A Randomised controlled trial (RCT)
Background: The question of what form of non-invasive treatment is most effective for sacroiliac joint (SIJ) dysfunction has not been sufficiently addressed. The quality of evidence regarding the efficacy of a conservative treatment approach is low, and there is no evidence for sustained benefits.
Objectives: To compare the efficacy of acupuncture and conventional physiotherapy in the management of pain and functional disability in patients with SIJ dysfunction.
Methods: Forty women with SIJ dysfunction with a mean age of 29.3± 4.3 years participated in the study. Ten participants were randomised into each of three intervention groups (acupuncture (ACT); conventional physiotherapy (CPT); and acupuncture combined with conventional physiotherapy (ACPT)) and a control group (CG) (education and advice). Treatment interventions were provided three times a week for five weeks. The main outcome measures were pain intensity measured with visual analogue scale (VAS) and functional disability measured with Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ). Assessments were carried out by an independent examiner before and after the intervention and at 3 months follow-up.
Results: Baseline VAS and RMDQ scores did not show significant differences among the groups. After treatment, the participants in all the intervention groups had reduced pain scores on the VAS scale (ACT= 3.5±0.06, CPT =3.0±0.08 and ACPT=1.2±0.98) and improved function on RMDQ scores (ACT =7.0±1.53, CPT = 6.0±.01, ACPT = 3.0± 0.08) compared to those in the control group, who recorded 7.4±0.08 and 17.5± 4.32 for pain intensity and functional disability, respectively. However, pain reduction and improvement in function was greatest in the ACPT at the end of the 5-week treatment and at 3-month follow-up (VAS=1.0±0.04, RMDQ =2.0± 0.07) compared with the other intervention groups (VAS: ACT= 4.0±0.97, CPT = 3.5±1.00 and RMDQ: ACT=7.0±1.6, CPT=5.0±0.87). There was a significant difference in the pain scores on VAS (F =67.171, P=0.000) and functional disability on RMDQ scores (F=62.467, P=0.000) among the groups after 5 weeks of treatment and at 3-month post-treatment follow-up assessment VAS (F =79.903, P=0.000) and RMDQ (F =75.301, P=0.000), which was not present at the baseline.
Conclusion: Findings from this study showed that acupuncture or conventional physiotherapy alone or in combination is more effective than advice and education. The combination of acupuncture and conventional therapy is more effective than both treatments alone.
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