Acupuncture for pain

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The National Institute for Health and Care and Excellence (NICE) has recently published their guidance recommending treatments, including acupuncture, for treating chronic primary pain (a subset of pain that lasts for longer than three months without a primary cause e.g. headaches, back pain, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome).

Their suggestion is that acupuncture is more beneficial for chronic primary pain than painkillers.

Indeed, the popularity of acupuncture may be attributed to the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of pain.  

"In a 2-year retroactive survey of over 89,000 patients published in 2016, 93% of patients said that their acupuncturist had been successful in treating their musculoskeletal pain" [evidence based acupuncture]

To see how acupuncture might help your pain, click the links below.

I have also written two blog posts.  One on pain and one on headaches.

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In a Cochrane study in 2016, they found acupuncture was associated with a moderate reduction of headache frequency over no acupuncture after treatment (2199 participants)


In a Cochrane study in 2016, they found acupuncture reduced migraine frequency significantly more than drug prophylaxis after treatment. After three months headache frequency at least halved in 57% of participants receiving acupuncture and 46% receiving prophylactic drugs


In a 2020 Randomised Controlled Trial, they found that acupuncture on both specific and non-specific points reduces the non-dysfunctional pain of TMD patients

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Either electroacupuncture or interferential electrotherapy in combination with shoulder exercises is effective in treating frozen shoulder patients


"Acupuncture is statistically better at improving self-reported pain and activity limitation for patients with non-specific chronic low back"


"The results of this systematic review suggest that the use of acupuncture may more effectively relieve leg pain/lumbago and improve global assessment of sciatica when compared with NSAID (ibuprofen, meloxicam, and diclofenac) treatment


In a 2011 Randomised Controlled Trial, they found that traditional acupuncture can relieve pain intensity and improve the quality of daily life with a relative long-term clinical efficacy in patients with chronic neck pain