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Research Finds Acupuncture Effective for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a significant and common complaint in the US. Research shows that both patients and providers are often dissatisfied with conventional treatment processes and outcomes. A meta-analysis of chronic pain patients, published in the Journal of Pain, concluded that:

  • Acupuncture is effective for a number of chronic pain conditions including musculoskeletal, headache, and osteoarthritis pain.

  • Acupuncture treatment results are persistent over time, offering lasting benefits.

  • Benefits could not be explained solely in terms of placebo effects.

  • Referrals for a course of acupuncture treatment is a reasonable option for a patient with chronic pain.

Additional Resources

  • Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Evidence-Based Evaluation of Complementary Health Approaches for Pain Management in the United States (

  • BMJ: Should Doctors Recommend Acupuncture for Pain? (


Upshur, C. C., Luckmann, R. S., & Savageau, J. A. (2006). Primary care provider concerns about management of chronic pain in community clinic populations. Journal of general internal medicine, 21(6), 652–655.

Vickers, A. J., Vertosick, E. A., Lewith, G., Macpherson, H., Foster, N. E., Sherman, K. J., Linde, K. (2018). Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis. The Journal of Pain, 19(5), 455–474. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2017.11.005



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