An Overview Of The Role Of Acupuncture In Chronic Pain


There are various methods of treating chronic pain.  Recently, acupuncture has been gaining a noticeable amount of importance in treating various health conditions including chronic pain. 

Pain Treatment With Acupuncture

Acupuncture works particularly well in patients with chronic pain including neck pain, back pain, knee pain, etc. Acupuncture is being widely accepted in various countries and is practiced by many professionals for pain management. 

An Overview Of The Role Of Acupuncture In Chronic Pain

This article will help you to cover some important points of acupuncture including its benefits and complications in Chronic pain management.


Acupuncture is a widely popular traditional medical practice in China that is 3500 years older than other western medical practices. The Chinese traditional practice uses needles, heat, and pressure to restore the body’s internal energy. 

Acupuncture involves using fine sterilized needles to insert at some specific points of the skin called Acupoints. Acupoints or mostly allocated at meridians. Acupuncture works by strengthening weak qi (Internal energy) and releasing the excessive qi.

Acupuncture has shown it’s important in treating various pains including fibromyalgia, headache, back pain, etc. The practice gives you short-term pain relief from neck pain. Even though acupuncture has shown its importance in these fields, it is still not clear about its efficiency in Abdominal pain.

How Did Acupuncture Become Popular In The Western World?

Acupuncture has a history of more than 3500 years than western medicines. This Chinese traditional practice began to get more publicity in the western world when Journalist James Reston published an article in the New York times(1971) about his experience with Acupuncture in China.

The article went well, and more people began to recognize Acupuncture as an efficient medical tool to treat pains including back pain, knee pain, neck pain, etc. Acupuncture has also gained some importance in treating pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue caused by chemotherapy.

Is Acupuncture A  Scientifically Proven Practice?

The history of acupuncture shows its credibility in the field of health as a treatment of various pains. There are various researches conducted on animals and humans, to find the mechanism of Acupuncture.

Though its mechanism still remains unclear, Acupuncture is considered as the result of various biological effects on Nervous systems, and some other chemical mediators.

Acupuncture And Pain

Chronic Pain

Several clinical studies have shown that Acupuncture is practical in the case of Chronic neck and shoulder pains. The tests conducted on humans with chronic pain have shown a result of about 3 years of reduced chronic pain.

In some studies, It is shown that combining physical therapy along with acupuncture could give results that were more positive than treating with Acupuncture alone. The practice also has shown better results in a reduction in motion-related pain and improvement in range of motion in chronic myofascial pain.


Migraine and other types of headache disorders are suffering health conditions for many people. People have been using different methods to treat the problem, but some people are still under its influence. Acupuncture has gained its practical importance in this field too.

Acupuncture can be used to treat patients suffering from tension headaches, migraine, and other types of headaches. Many studies have shown that treatment with acupuncture has shown significant improvement in people with migraines and other headaches.

Acupuncture is considered one of the most cost-effective treatments when it comes to primary headaches. Not only acupuncture has shown significant improvement than some other migraine treatments but also has only the least side effects.

Low Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common health conditions seen in people. Not only can the condition last long, but also it needs high expenditure, and also it has a risk of disability.

Acupuncture has gained so much exposure in treating Lower back pain. Studies have shown that Acupuncture was more effective than physical therapy.

Some Other Uses Of Acupuncture

Besides treating chronic pain, acupuncture has also been found useful in treating allergy, depression, anxiety, obesity, insomnia, assisting conception and infertility,  cancer-related fatigue, premenstrual syndrome, asthma, menopause symptoms, spinal cord injury, quitting smoking, and detoxification from opioids or other drug addiction 

Side Effects And Possible Complications

Acupuncture is one of the treatments with negligible complications.

Acupuncture has shown no complications like disability, long-term hospitalization, death of the patient, etc. It has shown some side effects like bleeding or bruising at the site of needle insertion, infection, dermatitis, and broken needle fragments.

Some surveys have also reported some minor adverse effects after acupuncture treatment which include prolonged pain, psychological and emotional reactions, nausea, fainting, etc.

Though the complication and side effects of acupuncture are low, improper acupuncture treatment can result in internal organ puncture, haemothorax, pneumothorax, and pericardial effusion.

Major complications can occur if the acupuncture practitioner is less skilled, the patient undergoing acupuncture is old and fragile, or patients with complex comorbidities.


Recently acupuncture is gaining more popularity as a medical practice of treating different medical conditions.

Acupuncture has been found to be efficient in treating neck pain, headaches, back pain, etc.

The treatment is cost-effective and has only the least complications or side effects.

Most of the surveys conducted on Acupuncture showed its benefits in improving health conditions and also fewer side effects. 

Serious complications can happen to people having complex comorbidities, aged and fragile, and also if the practitioner is less skilled.

Remember to go to an acupuncture therapist having a license and has proven his expertise in the field.


  • Is acupuncture a traditional method of treatment?

Acupuncture is a part of the Chinese traditional method of treatment with a history of more than 3600 years than Western medicines. 

  • What are the benefits of acupuncture?

Acupuncture is cost-effective and has the least side effects. Acupuncture can be used to treat back pain, neck pain, knee pain, and some others. 

  • Does Acupuncture get insurance?

Well,  some of the medical insurance companies add acupuncture to the list. But, most of them may not. It is better to ask the company about it and its policies.

  • How to find a good Acupuncturist?

Make sure to consult a certified and licensed Acupuncturist. It is important to consult a practitioner with whom you find comfortable.

PainPathways Magazine

PainPathways Magazine

PainPathways is the first, only and ultimate pain magazine. First published in spring 2008, PainPathways is the culmination of the vision of Richard L. Rauck, MD, to provide a shared resource for people living with and caring for others in pain. This quarterly resource not only provides in-depth information on current treatments, therapies and research studies but also connects people who live with pain, both personally and professionally.

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