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      The Management of Sciatica by Acupuncture: An Expert Consensus Using the Improved Delphi Survey

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          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.


          This Delphi survey achieved an expert consensus on key items in the management of sciatica for acupuncture, which provides the current opinions in China. We trust that these treatment recommendations may facilitate their implementation in the future.

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          Most cited references 33

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          AMSTAR 2: a critical appraisal tool for systematic reviews that include randomised or non-randomised studies of healthcare interventions, or both

          The number of published systematic reviews of studies of healthcare interventions has increased rapidly and these are used extensively for clinical and policy decisions. Systematic reviews are subject to a range of biases and increasingly include non-randomised studies of interventions. It is important that users can distinguish high quality reviews. Many instruments have been designed to evaluate different aspects of reviews, but there are few comprehensive critical appraisal instruments. AMSTAR was developed to evaluate systematic reviews of randomised trials. In this paper, we report on the updating of AMSTAR and its adaptation to enable more detailed assessment of systematic reviews that include randomised or non-randomised studies of healthcare interventions, or both. With moves to base more decisions on real world observational evidence we believe that AMSTAR 2 will assist decision makers in the identification of high quality systematic reviews, including those based on non-randomised studies of healthcare interventions.
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            Grading quality of evidence and strength of recommendations.

            Users of clinical practice guidelines and other recommendations need to know how much confidence they can place in the recommendations. Systematic and explicit methods of making judgments can reduce errors and improve communication. We have developed a system for grading the quality of evidence and the strength of recommendations that can be applied across a wide range of interventions and contexts. In this article we present a summary of our approach from the perspective of a guideline user. Judgments about the strength of a recommendation require consideration of the balance between benefits and harms, the quality of the evidence, translation of the evidence into specific circumstances, and the certainty of the baseline risk. It is also important to consider costs (resource utilisation) before making a recommendation. Inconsistencies among systems for grading the quality of evidence and the strength of recommendations reduce their potential to facilitate critical appraisal and improve communication of these judgments. Our system for guiding these complex judgments balances the need for simplicity with the need for full and transparent consideration of all important issues.
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              Back pain and sciatica.

               J W Frymoyer (1988)

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                08 January 2021
                : 14
                : 13-22
                [1 ]International Acupuncture and Moxibustion Innovation Institute, School of Acupuncture-Moxibustion and Tuina, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine , Beijing, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]School of Acupuncture-Moxibustion and Tuina, Shandong University of Chinese Medicine , Shandong, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Cun-Zhi Liu School of Acupuncture-Moxibustion and Tuina, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, 11 Bei San Huan Dong Lu, Chaoyang District , Beijing100029, People's Republic of China Email lcz_tg@126.com
                © 2021 Zhang et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 2, References: 33, Pages: 10
                Original Research

                Anesthesiology & Pain management

                acupuncture, sciatica, expert consensus, delphi survey


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