93% of 89,000 patients reported successful treatment for musculoskeletal pain with acupuncture (American Specialty Health 2016)

Acupuncture for pain management

Acupuncture for Pain Management

Acupuncture is widely known for its effectiveness in the treatment of pain. Its unique role in reducing suffering in patients experiencing pain is one of the main reasons it has become so popular around the world. The research is plentiful on the effects of acupuncture on specific painful conditions.

For chronic pain, in the largest study of its kind to date, 454,920 patients were treated with acupuncture for headache, low back pain, and/or osteoarthritis in an open pragmatic trial. Effectiveness was rated as marked or moderate in 76% of cases by the 8,727 treating physicians.

Another study in the journal, Current Opinion in Anesthesiology, in the paper titled ‘Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: an Update and Critical Overview’ concluded that “mounting evidence supports the effectiveness of acupuncture to treat chronic low back, neck, shoulder, and knee pain, as well as headaches.

How acupuncture works for pain

The mechanisms underlying how acupuncture is so effective for treating pain have been researched extensively for over 60 years.

  • by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins, the body’s own ‘feel good’ chemicals, which play an important role in the regulation of physical and emotional stress responses such as pain, heart rate, blood pressure and digestive function.
  • when the body is under stress / in pain, an area of the brain called the hypothalamus releases neurochemicals, research shows that acupuncture can calm this response, changing the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord
  • reducing inflammation
  • improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility – by increasing local microcirculation, which aids dispersal of swelling and bruising

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