Acupuncture for pain


Acupuncture is widely known for its effectiveness in the treatment of pain. For acute pain, a systematic review of 13 trials carried out in 2016 found that acupuncture was more effective than both sham needling and injection with painkillers. (1)

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. (2)

Another study, given in the journal Current Opinion in Anesthesiology and 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. Additional data are emerging that support the use of acupuncture as an adjunct or alternative to opioids, and in perioperative settings.’ (3)


  1. Xiang A, Cheng K, Xu P, & Liu S (nd). The immediate analgesic effect of acupuncture for pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  2. Weidenhammer W, Streng A, Linde K, Hoppe A, Melchart D. Acupuncture for chronic pain within the research program of 10 German Health Insurance Funds–basic results from an observational study. Complementary therapies in medicine. 2007;15(4):238-46
  3. Yin C, Buchheit TE, & Park JJ (2017). Acupuncture for chronic pain: an update and critical overview. Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology, 1.


For more research on how acupuncture can help with other conditions, go to:

Acupuncture and anxiety

Acupuncture for hay fever and rhinitis

Acupuncture for depression

Acupuncture and fertility, IVF, PCOS and endometriosis