“Acupuncture analgesia can be regarded as the method of choice for treating many chronically painful conditions.” – World Health Organization
“My pain is gone.” – Patient Survey 2013
“I just want to thank you for doing acupuncture on my back today – I feel a lot better!” – H
“My husband also received treatments for severe back and neck pain and it helped him a lot.” – L
In their publication Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, the World Health Organization states, “acupuncture analgesia works better than a placebo for most kinds of pain, and its effective rate in the treatment of chronic pain is comparable with that of morphine.”¹ They go on to say, “Because of the side-effects of long-term drug therapy for pain and the risks of dependence, acupuncture analgesia can be regarded as the method of choice for treating many chronically painful conditions.”¹
A 2012 review of acupuncture for chronic pain included 29 randomized controlled trials and the results of over 17,000 patients.² It found that acupuncture was superior to both sham acupuncture and no acupuncture for all pain conditions studied, namely back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache and shoulder pain.²
Though acupuncture’s effects on chronic pain have received more attention, acupuncture is also very effective for the healing injuries, such as sprains, strains and pulled muscles, and for resolving general muscle tension.
Acupuncture helps these conditions by moderating the body’s pain response, and also by improving local circulation and regulating inflammation so that healing can occur. Below is a list of some of the pain conditions for which the World Health Organization considers acupuncture to be an effective treatment therapy.
Acute spine pain
Fibromyalgia and fasciitis
Low back pain
Pain in dentistry (including dental pain and temporomandibular dysfunction)
Periarthritis of the shoulder
Radicular and Pseudoradicular pain syndrome
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Craniosacral therapy can also be very effective in treating chronic pain. Clinical experience has found it to be effective for a broad range of pain conditions, including migraines and headaches, chronic neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome and stress and tension-related disorders.
- World Health Organization. 2002. Acupuncture: review and analysis of reports on controlled clinical trials. World Health Organization, Geneva.
- Vickers, AJ et al. 2012. Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis. Archives of Internal Medicine; 172 (19): 1444–53