By Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP, Acupuncturist, Clinic Director
An estimated 3 million American adults receive acupuncture treatment each year, 1 and chronic pain is the most common presentation.2 I’m an acupuncturist and clinic director at Glow Natural Health Center and I treat pain every day. So it was no surprise to me when research revealed acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating pain in 2012. The great thing about this study is that it looks at 29 randomized, controlled trial studies and analyzed the outcomes. In all, there were nearly 18,000 people who participated, suffering with chronic pain from headaches, osteoarthritis, back and shoulder pain.
There are lots of ways that research can be done to test acupuncture’s effectiveness. These studies looked at “true” acupuncture vs. either “sham” acupuncture or “treatment as usual.” The conclusion was that true acupuncture was statistically better than sham needling and usual care. The authors concluded that acupuncture was an effective and reasonable treatment for the conditions studied. The large sample size and the rigorous nature of the studies make this the best evidence to date of acupuncture’s effectiveness for pain.
1 Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin RL. Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults and children: United States, 2007. Natl Health Stat Report. 2008;(12):1-23