We use acupuncture to help treat a variety of issues in our clinic, but the one most often cited by our patients remains pain relief. Not coincidentally, most good research supports the use of acupuncture in the treatment of both acute and chronic pain conditions.
One meta-analysis, which included 39 studies and 20,827 patients, had the following conclusions:
“The results confirm and strengthen previous key findings that acupuncture has a clinically relevant effect compared with no acupuncture control.”
“Effects of acupuncture appear to persist over at least a 12-month period.”
“We have confirmed that acupuncture has a clinically relevant, persistent effect on chronic pain that is not completely explained by placebo effects.”
Source: Vickers, Andrew J et al. “Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis.” The journal of pain: official journal of the American Pain Society vol. 19,5 (2018): 455-474. Please click on this link to read more about: Acupuncture for chronic pain: update of an individual patient data meta-analysis.
Another study concluded that:
“Strong positive evidence” has been found supporting the use of acupuncture in the reduction of opioid use and dependency in the treatment of chronic pain.
Source: Lin et al. “Using Integrative Medicine in Pain Management: An Evaluation of Current Evidence,” in Anesthesia & Analgesia. December 2017, Volume 125 – Issue 6 – p 2081–2093. Please click on this link to read more about: Using Integrative Medicine in Pain Management: An Evaluation of Current Evidence.
In early 2017, the American College of Physicians (ACP) published guidelines based on the evidence for the non-invasive treatment of low-back pain. Key points included:
For acute or subacute low-back pain, the ACP recommends non-pharmacologic treatment with acupuncture, along with superficial heat, massage, and chiropractic therapy.
For chronic low-back pain, the ACP also recommends acupuncture, in addition to chiropractic therapy, exercise, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and Tai Chi.
Source: Qaseem A et al. for the Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians. “Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians.” Annals of Internal Medicine. April 4, 2017, 166:514–530. Please click on this link to read more about: Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians.