Acupuncture for Pain Relief

I was first introduced to acupuncture by my friend and colleague Dr. William Morris one of the nation’s leading acupuncturists. Although my grandfather and one of his friends had many years of acupuncture for arthritis pain relief, and claimed good enough results that they both went regularly to acupuncture until their deaths, I hadn’t given acupuncture much thought. But when Dr. Morris suggested that acupuncture could help with my ailments, I boldly demanded he give me a referral to prove his claims. I’m now one of the millions of Americans who uses acupuncture.

I’m not alone in singing the praises of acupuncture. WebMD reports that the claims that acupuncture reduces pain (among treating other problems) are true.

The researchers found that people who got acupuncture ended up having less pain than those who didn’t receive it. And the result was similar among different sources of pain, whether it was chronic back and neck painosteoarthritis, or headache.

In the end, their results translate to about 30% less pain compared to people taking pain medications and other standard treatments for pain.

These results are nothing new, but this particular study was one of the largest and most comprehensive reviews of data on acupuncture to date.

“This was a very, very large collaboration,” says Vickers, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York….Vickers and his colleagues reviewed nearly 1,000 studies. In the end, they selected 29, which he says were of the highest quality. Rather than simply tallying up the results of those studies, the researchers obtained the raw data from each of them and reanalyzed all of it. By the time they were done, they had examined data from nearly 18,000 participants from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and Sweden.

Given the dangers of prescription pain medications, alternative therapies, like acupuncture, should be given strong consideration by both physicians and patients as a first-line therapy to manage pain.