A recently published systematic review and meta-analysis has shown that acupuncture is more effective for lumbar disc herniation than a variety of current medical practices.
The study, carried out by Tang et al., identified 30 high quality trials which gave a sample size of 3503 patients. They compared acupuncture to lumbar traction, ibuprofen, diclofenac sodium, meloxicam, mannitol plus dexamethasone and mecobalamin, fugui gutong capsule plus ibuprofen, mannitol plus dexamethasone, loxoprofen and huoxue zhitong decoction. In all cases acupuncture was found to be more effective.
Whilst more research is needed, this shows acupuncture could be worth considering before having more invasive and complicated procedures.
It is also great for the acupuncture profession who can use this to press for integration with the NHS to make acupuncture accessible to all.