Background: and purpose: Although several studies have reported that thread embedding acupuncture (TEA) is effective for lumbar herniated intervertebral disc (LHIVD), the evidence remains limited because previous studies had a high risk of bias. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy and safety of TEA for LHIVD through a rigorously designed trial. Materials and methods: This was a randomized, patient-assessor-blinded, sham-controlled trial. Participants were screened according to eligibility criteria, and 70 patients with LHIVD were randomly allocated to the TEA and sham TEA (STEA) groups in a 1:1 ratio. Both groups received TEA or STEA treatment at 23 acupoints once per week for eight weeks. Changes in low back pain, radiating pain, Oswestry disability index, Roland–Morris disability questionnaire, EuroQol 5–Dimensions 5–Levels, and global perceived effect were measured at baseline and at 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks after screening and compared between the two groups. Results: TEA showed no significant difference in all outcomes compared to STEA immediately after eight weeks of treatment. After an additional eight weeks of follow-up, TEA showed a more significant effect on the low back pain than STEA (p < 0.05) and showed a better tendency in maintaining or enhancing the improvement of radiating pain, function, and quality of life even after the end of treatment. No serious adverse events were observed. Conclusion: TEA is effective in improving low back pain in patients with LHIVD and may help improve function and quality of life, especially in the long term.
- Intervertebral disc displacement
- Low back pain
- Lumbar vertebrae
- Randomized controlled trial
- Thread embedding acupuncture