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Battlefield Acupuncture for Low Back Pain (BFA)

June 5, 2019


Battlefield Acupuncture is a type of acupuncture that had been used in many Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) medical settings to alleviate pain. This clinical trial examines its effect on the sleep, physical activity, and pain on active-duty military participants with chronic lower back pain (LBP).


Study Information

This is an interventional, random, single-blind, parallel assignment with an estimated 160 participants. The primary outcome is to measure pain. Secondary outcomes include changes in pain medication needed, joint mobility, balance, physical activity, and sleep quality.


Inclusion Criteria

  • All sexes, ages 18 to 50 years old
  • Diagnosis of lower back pain (LBP) (pain for > 4 weeks, with or without radiating nerve pain
  • Active duty military, Public Health Service, or Coast Guard (guard and reserve on active orders)
  • Pain score 3/10 or higher, as patient reported on the Defense & Veterans Pain Rating Scale (DVPRS)
  • mODI score ≥ 20%
  • No known prolonged, temporary duty, deployment, or vacation within the next month


Exclusion Criteria

  • Any severe comorbidity (one or more conditions occurring with a primary condition)
  • LBP neurologic “red flags” indicating serious spinal pathology (i.e. bowel or bladder dysfunction)
  • Auricular acupuncture in the past 6 months
  • Use of steroids in the month prior to the study
  • Hemorrhagic disorders
  • Malignancy
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Severe scoliosis or congenital spine disorder
  • Back pain because of a visceral problem (e.g. endometriosis)
  • Under surgeon’s care for back surgery within the last 12 months
  • Balance disorder
  • Pregnancy or suspected pregnancy (last menstrual period will be reported by the patient)
  • Aversion to needles
  • Previous keloid scar formation
  • Active infection on the ear
  • Bleeding disorder
  • Metal allergy
  • Mental health diagnosis requiring medication (depression, PTSD, etc)
  • Untreated sleep apnea or other sleep disorders



You may participate in this study at Malcolm Grow Medical Clinics and Surgery Center at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, United States, 20762. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact David Wilson, BS at 253-355-5428 or at



This study is being sponsored by The Geneva Foundation and TriService Nursing Research Program. Candy Wilson, PhD of Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences is the Principal Investigator.

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