Acupuncture therapy is an effective non-drug therapy for sciatica, but it has not yet formed an effective treatment strategy and recommendations. Our objective was to establish an expert consensus on acupuncture treatment of sciatica for clinical guidance based on the improved Delphi survey.
A group of 80 clinical specialists was invited to participate in two rounds of semi-open clinical issue investigation. At the same time, the PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases were searched for systematic reviews on acupuncture treatment of sciatica, and the quality of evidence was evaluated. Then the three-round Delphi survey was undertaken with 30 experts based on the clinical issue investigation and systematic reviews.
In round 1 of the Delphi survey, the experts evaluated 17 items identified from the results of the clinical investigation and literature review. The criterion for achieving consensus was a threshold of 80% agreement. After the three-round Delphi survey, 16 items (94.12%) achieved consensus, including 5 domains: the principle of acupuncture treatment for sciatica; the “dose” of acupuncture; the clinical effects of acupuncture; the adverse effects, and others.