Research has shown that acupuncture can provide effective relief for many types of pain. 

Studies show that acupuncture after surgery decreases pain by 22-36% and decreases the amount of painkillers needed by 42%.**

Why is it important to reduce pain medications and opioid use? 

Numerous side effects arise from the use (and overuse) of medications for pain management.

Serious side effects include addiction/dependence, kidney or liver damage, impaired cognition, constipation, and more.

A recently published study shows that the use of narcotic pain pills actually rewires the brain to feel more pain and be more sensitive to pain longterm. This is unsustainable, unhealthy, and unethical for the healthcare industry.

Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to manage and reduce pain without side effects while also encouraging your body's tissues to heal, repair, and resist further injury.


Acupuncture for chronic pain: is acupuncture more than an effective placebo?

A synthesis of evidence from systematic reviews on the pooled data of high-quality randomized controlled trials comparing acupuncture to sham acupuncture for chronic pain.  For short-term outcomes, acupuncture showed significant superiority over sham for back pain, knee pain, and headache. For longer-term outcomes (6 to12 months), acupuncture was significantly more effective for knee pain and tension-type headache but inconsistent for back pain (one positive and one inconclusive). The reviewers concluded that the accumulating evidence from recent reviews suggests acupuncture is more than a placebo for commonly occurring chronic pain conditions.

Hopton A, MacPherson H. Acupuncture for chronic pain: is acupuncture more than an effective placebo? A systematic review of pooled data from meta-analyses. Pain Pract 2010; 10: 94-102.

Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

Randomized controlled trial of acupuncture for chronic LBP. 1162 patients underwent ten sessions, twice per week, of traditional acupuncture, sham acupuncture or conventional therapy (a combination of drugs, physical therapy and exercise). Found that LBP improved after acupuncture and improvement lasted for at least 6 months after treatment ended. Concluded that the effectiveness of any type of acupuncture was almost twice that of conventional therapy.

Haake M, Müller HH, Schade-Brittinger C, Basler HD, et al. German Acupuncture Trials (GERAC) for chronic low back pain: randomized, multicenter, blinded, parallel-group trial with 3 groups. Arch Intern Med. 2007 Sep 24;167(17):1892-8.​

Acupuncture for chronic shoulder pain

German randomized acupuncture trial for chronic shoulder pain (GRASP) – A pragmatic, controlled, patient-blinded, multi-centre trial in an outpatient care environment.

An article in Pain examined the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating chronic shoulder pain (CSP). Participants were comprised of 424 patients with CSP (characterized by six or more months of pain and a VAS score of 50mm or greater). Random assignment placed each patient into traditional acupuncture, sham acupuncture, or conventional orthopedic treatment. The patients were blind to the type of acupuncture, and received 15 treatments over six weeks. Visual Analog Scale measurements were taken at baseline, after six weeks of treatment, and three weeks post-treatment. Directly following treatment, ITT analysis revealed that the traditional acupuncture group yielded a 68% improvement, sham acupuncture 24%, and conventional 13 orthopedic treatment 28%. At the three month follow-up, VAS scores revealed the following improvements: traditional acupuncture 65%, sham acupuncture 24%, and conventional orthopedic treatment 37%. There is a statistical significance (p<0.01) for traditional acupuncture over both sham and conventional treatments both post-treatment and at follow-up. Descriptive statistics also presented greater improvements in shoulder mobility (as indicated by the abduction and arm above head test) with true acupuncture treatments compared to the control group. Increased shoulder mobility in the acupuncture group was present immediately following treatment and at the three month follow-up. This article suggests that acupuncture is a beneficial and feasible alternative to conservative treatment.

Molsberger, A., Schneider, T., Gotthardt, H., Drabik, A. (2010). German randomized acupuncture trial for chronic shoulder pain (GRASP) – A pragmatic, controlled, patient-blinded, multi-centre trial in an outpatient care environment. Pain, 151, 146-154. 

Acupuncture for Knee Pain/Osteoarthritis

A three-armed randomized, controlled trial compared acupuncture to sham acupuncture and conservative therapy in treating patients with knee osteoarthritis. The participants for this study included 1007 patients experiencing knee pain due to knee osteoarthritis for six months or longer. Conservative treatment consisted of ten visits to practitioners for a consultation and prescription of diclofenac or rofecoxib. For the true acupuncture group, ten sessions were administered over a period of six weeks. Sham acupuncture entailed needling at non-acupuncture points and also included ten sessions over six weeks. Success was defined as a 36% or more 16 improvement in Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) at 26 weeks. The true acupuncture group had a success rate of 53.1%, sham acupuncture yielded 51.0%, and conservative treatment produced 29.1%. Statistical significance was not reached for differences between true and sham acupuncture. However, both forms of acupuncture generated statistically higher success rates that conservative treatment alone. This article suggests that the improvements may be due to a placebo effect, differences in provider contact intensity, or the physiological effect of needling regardless of adherence to traditional principles.

Scharf, HP, Mansmann, U., Steitberger, K., Witte, S., Kramer, J., Maier, C., Trampisch, HJ, Victor, N. (2006). Acupuncture and Knee Osteoarthritis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 145, 12-20.

Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis.

This study aimed to determine the effect size of acupuncture for 4 chronic pain conditions: back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache, and shoulder pain. We conducted a systematic review to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of acupuncture for chronic pain in which allocation concealment was determined unambiguously to be adequate. Individual patient data meta-analyses were conducted using data from 29 of 31 eligible RCTs, with a total of 17 922 patients analyzed. Patients receiving acupuncture had less pain. Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option. Significant differences between true and sham acupuncture indicate that acupuncture is more than a placebo. However, these differences are relatively modest, suggesting that factors in addition to the specific effects of needling are important contributors to the therapeutic effects of acupuncture.

Vickers AJ. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Oct 22;172(19):1444-53.

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