Acupuncture for Chronic Pain

Acupuncture for Chronic Pain.

Chronic pain imposes a substantial burden on individuals and society which is as great as other more publicised health priorities such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Studies have found that as many as 1 in 5 adults are affected by chronic pain which persists for more than 6 months. Due to limited conventional medical care options beyond symptomatic pain relief, one third of those who live with chronic pain conditions may not be seeking and receiving treatment at all.

Is Acupuncture Effective for Chronic Pain?

Don't just take our word for it. The following clinical trials have scientifically examined the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for chronic pain.

Only reputable papers recently published by peer-reviewed journals within the last 10 years are listed below.



Current Rheumatology Reports
Acupuncture and Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain
Current Rheumatology Reports

The available evidence suggests that acupuncture does have short-term pain relief benefits for patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain and is a safe and reasonable referral option. Acupuncture may also have a beneficial role for fibromyalgia.

2020, Sep 25 • Zhang, Y., Wang, C. Full Article

Acupuncture in Medicine
Evidence of efficacy of acupuncture in the management of low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo- or sham-controlled trials
Acupuncture in Medicine British Medical Acupuncture Society

There is moderate evidence of efficacy for acupuncture in terms of pain reduction immediately after treatment for NSLBP ((sub)acute and chronic) when compared to sham or placebo acupuncture.

2019, Jan 16 • Xiang Y, He J, Tian H, Cao B, Li R. Full Article

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Classic Chinese Acupuncture versus Different Types of Control Groups for the Treatment of Chronic Pain: Review of Randomized Controlled Trials (2000-2018)
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Sixty-one studies were fully analyzed and ranked based on the newest STRICTA and CBNG standards. We found good evidence that receiving acupuncture is better than not receiving treatment or being placed on a waiting list and reasonable evidence that it is better than conventional or usual care.

2019, Jan 4 • Yan-Jiao Chen, Gabriel Shimizu Bassi, Yong-Qing Yang Full Article

Pain Medicine
Randomized Controlled Trial of Acupuncture for Women with Fibromyalgia: Group Acupuncture with Traditional Chinese Medicine Diagnosis-Based Point Selection
Pain Medicine American Academy of Pain Medicine

Compared with education, group acupuncture improved global symptom impact, pain, and fatigue. Furthermore, it was a safe and well-tolerated treatment option, improving a broader proportion of patients than current pharmaceutical options.

2018, Jan 13 • Scott D Mist, Kim Dupree Jones Full Article

The Journal of Pain
Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis
The Journal of Pain American Pain Society

Acupuncture has a clinically relevant effect on chronic pain that persists over time. The effect of acupuncture cannot be explained only by placebo effects. Factors in addition to the specific effects of needling are important contributors. Referral for acupuncture treatment is a reasonable option for chronic pain patients.

2017, Nov 30 • Vickers, Andrew J. et al. Full Article

Programme Grants for Applied Research
Acupuncture for chronic pain and depression in primary care: a programme of research
Programme Grants for Applied Research NHS National Institutes for Health Research

We have provided the most robust evidence from high-quality trials on acupuncture for chronic pain. The synthesis of high-quality IPD found that acupuncture was more effective than both usual care and sham acupuncture. Acupuncture is one of the more clinically effective physical therapies for osteoarthritis and is also cost-effective if only high-quality trials are analysed.

2017, Jan • MacPherson H, Vickers A, Bland M, et al. Full Article

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Acupuncture for Low Back Pain: An Overview of Systematic Reviews
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Systematic reviews of variable quality showed that acupuncture, either used in isolation or as an adjunct to conventional therapy, provides short-term improvements in pain and function for chronic low back pain.

2015, Jan 4 • Liu L, Skinner M, McDonough S, Mabire L, Baxter GD. Full Article

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Standardized versus Individualized Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

In this single-center trial, individualized acupuncture was not superior to standardized acupuncture for patients suffering from chronic pain.

2013, Jan 28 • Daniel Pach, Xiaoli Yang-Strobel, Rainer Lüdtke, Stephanie Roll, Katja Icke, Benno Brinkhaus, Claudia M. Witt Full Article


Acupuncture points
Acupuncture is comparable with morphine preparations in its effectiveness against chronic pain, but without the adverse effects of morphine, such as dependency. Acupuncture : review and analysis of reports on controlled clinical trials
World Health Organization, Geneva 2002