The Role of Acupuncture in Treating Chronic Pain
by Kirsten M. Lagatree
"According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), a number of studies suggest that acupuncture works particularly well on chronic pain such as back and neck pain; osteoarthritis/knee pain; and headache. It often reduces the incidence and severity of tension headaches and may prevent migraines. “Therefore,” the NIH concludes, “acupuncture appears to be a reasonable option for people with chronic pain to consider.”
"Often patients will see their acupuncturist on a regular basis, simply to maintain a feeling of general well being. Despite the fact that the procedure is performed by inserting hair-thin needles into various parts of the body, acupuncture is considered non-invasive and gentle. "
A Close-up Look at Acupuncture for Pain
By LIZ NEPORENT April 22, 2014
Research studies consistently show that acupuncture can be an effective form of pain management, with some studies finding it even more effective than pain-relieving drugs or surgery. But exactly how it works remains somewhat of a mystery, Danesh admits.
In theory, acupuncture stimulates the body’s meridian points. By easing pressure on these energy-carrying channels, ancient Chinese physicians believed the needles corrected the body’s imbalances by allowing energy or “chi” to flow more freely. Although traditional Western medicine remains skeptical about the idea of chi, Danesh said that many of the meridian points happen to coincide with trigger points, spots on the body where pain radiates away from the center when pressed.
What is Acupuncture?
By Elizabeth Palermo, Associate Editor of live since | June 21, 2017
"Acupuncture is a complementary medical practice that entails stimulating certain points on the body, most often with a needle penetrating the skin, to alleviate pain or to help treat various health conditions.
Developed millennia ago in China, numerous recent studies conducted by scientists in Europe and the United States have found that acupuncture is at least moderately effective in treating pain and nausea.
For example, one of the largest studies to date on acupuncture and chronic pain — a meta-analysis of 29 well-conducted studies involving nearly 18,000 patients and published in October 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine — found that acupuncture is effective for treating chronic pain and therefore is a reasonable referral option. The doctors wrote that "[s]ignificant differences between true and sham acupuncture indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo" but added that "these differences are relatively modest."
Researchers are also conducting studies to determine if acupuncture is effective at treating depression, anxiety and a variety of cancer and cancer treatment-related symptoms, according to Dr. Ting Bao, an integrative medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Most doctors outside of the practice of traditional Chinese medicine are not convinced that acupuncture can treat specific diseases, such as diabetes or liver or kidney diseases, as is prescribed by some practitioners in China, according to Bao, who focuses on the use of acupuncture as a complementary treatment for breast cancer patients.
"Right now acupuncture is really used to alleviate cancer treatment-induced side effects or cancer-induced symptoms, but never to directly treat cancer," Bao told Live Science. "It would be really interesting to see if acupuncture can help prevent cancer. But I don't think the research has reached that level yet."